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Theoretical Considerations and Historical Context

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Chapter Summary

The study of emigration of Jews from Arab countries to Israel has largely been motivated by sectarianism and political partisanship. Correspondingly, individual migrants are treated as homogenous rational actors responding to economic disparities. According to network theories, social links connect migrants with previous migrants and their social networks in receiving areas. The early migrants relied on traditional Jewish/religious trust networks to connect them with foreign Jews. The middle of the nineteenth century is referred to in Yemeni history as ayyām al-fasād, or the time of corruption. The dung-gatherers decree, which may have been in place as early as 1788, made the Jewish community of Sanaa responsible for cleaning up dung heaps and sewage from the streets of the city. Ottoman-edicts, like the stretcher-bearers decree, forced Jews to violate their religious law, causing even further disillusionment. This is confirmed by a report printed in the Russian paper Yarusski Yevrei (Russian Jews).

Keywords: Arab countries; ayyām al-fasād; dung-gatherers decree; Israel; Jews; migration theory; network theories; stretcher-bearers decree; Yemeni history

10.1163/9789004265370_003
/content/books/b9789004265370s003
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