The Jewish question is very complex, with a lot of picky issues. I never completely understood the full extent of the question, and I am afraid to know… But when I was much younger and visited  the “Portuguese” synagogue of Paris, I had the feeling that some kind of discrimination exists against the Sephardic Jews. Then, in the 80’s, Arthur Koestler, born in Budapest but possibly with some Sephardic ascent, like Theodore Herzl was, launched a deeply controversial book, “the Thirteen Tribe”. Koestler attempt to show (based on previous works by Abraham Poliak, Raphael Patai and Douglas Morton Dunlop) that the Ashkenazi Jews are not descended from the historical Israelites of the Bible, but from Khazars, a Turkic people.

According to Koestler, the Khazars were the Third World of their day. But they were clever enough to chose a surprising method of resisting both the Western pressure to become Christian and the Eastern to adopt Islam. Rejecting both, they converted to Judaism.

He later told that his intent was to make antisemitism disappear by disproving its racial basis. But some suspiction that he was killed by Mossad are entertained by his closest friends, because his book after all and in his own words, was based «[…] on a misapprehension shared by both the killers and their victims. The story of the Khazar Empire, as it slowly emerges from the past, begins to look like the most cruel hoax which history has ever perpetrated».

There are two kinds of Jews: Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The Sephardim are descendants of the Jews who since antiquity had lived in Spain (in Hebrew Sepharad) until they were expelled at the end of the fifteenth century by the Inquisition and settled later in the Mediterranean (there is a huge community of Jews of Portuguese ascent in Istanbul), the Balkans, and also spread in England (David Ricardo, one of the founders of the Bank of England), and make richer Holland (photo of the Portuguese sinagogue of Amsterdam). They spoke Ladino, and preserved their own traditions and religious rites. In the 1960s, the number of Sephardim was estimated at 500,000 whereas the Ashkenazim numbered about eleven million.
Maybe from this fact of history a new solution may appear to the Middle East (permanent) crisis, since there is some signs of a divergence of Sephardic Jews in Israel from the Zionism (see this site: http://benillouche.blogspot.pt/2010/11/la-derive-inquietante-du-judaisme.html).

portugueseSinagogueAmsterdam

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