Yahudic Jewish in Israel

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Arabic word for Jew is "Yahud" and historically the Yahudic Jews settled in Iraq. They proclaim they are descendants of the Jews who were deported from Israel by the Babylonians in 538 BC. Living in a predominated Muslim/Arabic country these Yahudics developed a distinct dialect known as Baghdad Jewish Arabic which resembles the Arabic spoken in Northern Iraq and Syria. Their written script shows some signs of Aramaic.
In the last 80 years most of these people migrated to Israel and England to escape increased persecution. A major part of this exodus occurred In March 1951, when the Israeli government organized an airlift operation to take them to Israel. This operation was named after the prophets Ezra and Nehemiah, who led the Jewish people from exile in Babylonia to return to Israel in the 5th century BC, as recorded in the Old Testament. At this time Israel issued a proclamation for these Jewish people to sign up for the immigration. The opening words were "O, Zion, flee, daughter of Babylon." From 1951 to 1952, Operation Ezra and Nehemiah airlifted between 120,000 and 130,000 Iraqi Jews to Israel through Iran and Cyprus.
Prior to Operation Ezra and Nehemiah, there were 28 Yahudic Jewish educational institutions in Baghdad. The number of students attending these schools reached as high as 12,000. Several hundred of these students were able to study medicine, law, economics, and engineering. The Yahudics had two hospitals in which the poor could receive free treatment. They also had a school for the blind. Their deep love for music was well known. They organized many concerts for the Iraqi Orchestra in Baghdad.
What is sad is most of these Yahudic Jews had lived at peace for many years with their Muslim neighbors. Following their emigration to Israel, the Iraqi government seized most of their property. Out of sixty synagogues in 1950, there remained only seven after 1970. In 1969, as a reaction to the Arab loss in the Six Days War, nine Yahudic Jews were falsely accused of spying for Israel, and hanged in Baghdad. As a result, in the early 1970s, small groups of these Jewish people were smuggled across the border to Iran with the help of the Kurds in the north.
The Yahudic community is now dying out in Iraq. Most live in Israel, though some live in England, Canada or the United States.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Many of the older generation Yahudic Jews in Israel are deeply proud of the success of their Aliya (immigration), as they feel that they were in charge of their own fate. Most of them that came to Israel managed to integrate with the Israeli Ashkenazi population and have continued to prosper. Although education is important to them, many work in professions requiring manual labor.
Most of them are secular and their Iraqi culture is all but lost. Their children speak Hebrew or English. Only the older Yahudics speak a few words in their original Judeo-Arabic language.
One thing that has endured is their love for the music associated with their Jewish-Arabic background. The city of Ramat-Gan in Israel has a large populous of Yahudic Jews where some still perform their traditional Iraqi music.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Except for Jewish Holidays like Passover, most Yahudics are secular and not committed to their Jewish faith. One Israeli Yahudic explained it this way, "Although most Iraqi (Yahudic) Jews may not be traditionally religious, there is no question that they are religiously traditional, and proud of it."

What Are Their Needs?

Yahudics are by nature a proud and independent people. Most of them are removed from following God's laws and teaching as given to the Jewish people in the Old Testament. The majority do not know or accept God's account of how he guided the Jewish people in the Hebrew text. They need to see that God desires them to turn to him. They need to discover how he provided the prophesies that point them to Jesus.

Prayer Points

Pray that committed Christians will be prepared by God to reach the Yahudic Jewish people in Israel and beyond.
Pray that those who are willing to make this commitment will have understanding, patience, wisdom, and endurance.
Pray that their deep love for music will lead them to worship their Messiah through song. Isaiah 55:12 says, "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."

Scripture Prayers for the Jewish, Yahudic in Israel.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Jewish, Yahudic
People Name in Country Jewish, Yahudic
Natural Name Yahudic Jewish
Pronunciation yah-HOO-dik joo
Alternate Names Arab, Judeo-Iraqi; Iraqi Jew; Jewish; Judeo-Iraqi; Judeo-Iraqi Arabs; Yahudic, Arab
Population this Country 103,000
Population all Countries 110,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 2
People ID 15947
ROP3 Code 110925
ROP25 Code 303368
ROP25 Name Jewish
Country Israel
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Israel
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Map of Jewish, Yahudic in Israel
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Religion Subdivision: Judaism
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Arabic, Judeo-Iraqi (103,000 speakers)
Language Code yhd   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Arabic, Judeo-Iraqi (103,000 speakers)
Language Code yhd   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Arabic, Judeo-Iraqi

Primary Language:  Arabic, Judeo-Iraqi

Bible Translation Status:  Unspecified

Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Arabic Bible Online Arabic Bible Outreach Ministry
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Text / Printed Matter Tools for faith conversations Campus Crusade for Christ
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Anton_Ivanov - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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