Introduction / History
Jews and Muslims having peaceful relations? Though not a perfect relationship, there is hope in the relationship between Muslim Kurds and Jews who once lived in Kurdistan, a region that straddles parts of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey.
Israel has an extended history with the Muslim Kurds. Jews from Kurdistan began moving to Israel in the 16th century, but the majority traveled there in the "magic carpet" operation following World War II. The "magic carpet" operation moved Jews to Israel to protect them once Israel was declared a sovereign nation. Israelis can identify with the Muslim Kurds who yearn for their own sovereign homeland, and Israelis have made an ally of the Kurdish peoples.
Kurdish Muslims tend to have a greater receptivity to Israeli Jews than they do to Arab or Persian peoples. National Public Radio reported the story of a Kurdish Muslim and a Kurdish Jew marrying and returning to Iraq in secret. Not all is perfect, however. Kurdistani Jews in Israel are often seen by Israeli Jews as poorly educated and unsophisticated.
The first Kurdistani Jewish immigrants to Israel maintained their strong sense of tradition. However, the younger generation is becoming secularized and choose to dismiss Kurdish culture. One of the great accomplishments of this people, in the eyes of the Kurds, is the naming of Yitzhak Mordechai, an Iraqi Kurdistani immigrant, as Israel's defense minister in 1996. The Joshua Project reports that there are few Christians in this people group.
* Pray for the Kurdish Jews to seek Christ and carry Him in their hearts.