ILIGH: Print

A town in southern Morocco. The Iligh family attracted a colony of Jews from OUFRANE to carry out commercial activities. Iligh was the financial center and became the principal place of trade for products from the Sahara and Europe.Jews initially were prohibited from establishing a cemetery. Sidi Ali ou Moussa, founder of the Muslim House of Iligh in about 1612, encouraged them to stay by allowing them to build a synagogue, despite restrictions normally imposed on Jews under Islam. After he took Agadir, Jews became intermediaries with Europeans for caravan trade and importation of European arms. Jews could only live in Muslim lands if they were under the protection of Muslim lords. Thus, when Moulay Rachid destroyed Iligh in 1670, the Jews could not stay. They returned after the town was reestablished in 1730, probably about 1750. The Jewish population in 1869 was 500 Jews in 1869, 300 in 1883, 220 in 1936, and 240 in 1951.

From Iligh, take the road going toward the airstrip, Go 1.3 km south, then head toward TALUST , 1.2 km to the west. 130 meters to the right is the cemetery of about ¾ hectare. Tombs with Hebrew inscriptions face west to east. Borrowing from Muslim practice, Jewish children less than seven years of age were buried anonymously. The oldest tombstone dates from 1751. (Epidemics occurred in 1800, 1869 and 1945.) Few Jews were buried during 1770's and 1780's. Burials increase in 1790s perhaps due to expulsion from OUFRANE, when the martyrs were burned. Tombstone inscriptions give family name, sex, and date of death. Biblical Hebrew names are prevalent with some Arab names. Few family names are from southern Morocco. Some were from Spain, speaking Arab and no Berber. They may provide information on epidemics, population fluctuations, and family migration. Source: "Le Cimitiere juif d'Iligh 1751-1955: Etude des Epitaphes comme documents d'histoire demographique." Paul Pascon, Daniel Shroeter. 1981, in Paul Pascon, La Maison d'Iligh et l'histoire sociale du Tazerwalt , Societe Marocaine des Editeurs Reunis. Rabat. 1984.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 10:53