Your search for 'dc_creator:( "Haim Saadoun" ) OR dc_contributor:( "Haim Saadoun" )' returned 34 results. Modify search

Sort Results by Relevance | Newest titles first | Oldest titles first

Ben Gardane (Ben Guardane)

(300 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Ben Gardane (Ar. Ben Qardān) is a small coastal town in the southeast of Tunisia, situated on the main road from Tripoli to Tunis near the Libyan frontier. The modern development of the town commenced just after the establishment of the French protectorate in 1881, when the French built two military posts there to protect the Libyan border.             The modernization of the town attracted Jews, who came there for economic reasons, mainly from the island of Jerba in Tunisia and from Zuara in Libya. The Jewish population grew from about 234 in 1906 to…

Morinaud Law (Loi Morinaud -1923, Tunisia)

(337 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
The Morinaud Law (Loi Morinaud) was a French law promulgated in 1923 that enabled Tunisian Jews, who under the agreement establishing the French protectorate were subjects of the bey, to become French citizens. The law was the result of consistent pressure exerted by Tunisian Jews both before and after the First World War. French policy toward the naturalization of Tunisians up to this point had been conflicted. On the one hand, the French tried to assimilate them into French culture, but on the other hand, they did not want to make all of them French citizens, as were the Jews of Algeria und…


(1,381 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Gabes (Ar. Qābis)is the last major port city in southern Tunisia before the Libyan frontier. It is situated on the Gulf of Gabes (the Little Syrte) 404 kilometers (251 miles) south of Tunis and 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Gafsa. The present city of Gabes is actually a conglomeration of four smaller towns: two ancient oases, Menzel and Djara; New Djara, dating from the era of the Arab conquest; and the port itself, El-Bihar. The development of the port area was a pet project of the French protectorate (1881–1956). Like Qayrawān, Gabes was an important Jewish center during the Midd…

Saadoun, Yaakov

(242 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Yaakov Saadoun, the son of a shoemaker, was born in 1928 in the Tunisian city of Sfax, where his family lived in Picvill, a new quarter built by the French. Saadoun attended the Alliance Israélite Universelle school until World War II, then went on to a French commercial school and became a clerk in a shipping company. Deeply affected by the German occupation of Sfax (November 1942 to April 1943), he joined  Tséiré Ohavé Tsion (Heb. Ṣeʿire Ohave Ṣiyyon), a local Zionist organization, when he was eighteen. He soon became one of its leaders and the editor of its newsp…

Borgel Family

(514 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
The Borgel (Bordjel, Bourgel) family of Tunisia (so named from Col. Ar. bū rjel, man on foot) was famous for its many rabbis and communal leaders. The first member of the family was Nathan, who became grand rabbi and president of the rabbinical tribunal ( bet din) in 1774. A famous kabbalist, he  was the author of Ḥoq Natan (Heb. The Law He Gave; or punning, The Law of Nathan), a commentary on the Talmud (Livorno, 1776–78). He left Tunisia for Palestine in 1778 and died in Jerusalem in 1791. Nathan’s son, Elijah Ḥay I, was the author of a two-part work, Migdanot Natan (Precious Gifts He Gave; Liv…


(336 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Built on the site of the ancient Phoenician city of Gightis, Medenine (Ar. Madanīn) is a city in southeastern Tunisia about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the sea. During the late Ottoman period, Medenine was an important market town for the Ouerghemma, a confederation of the three main Berber tribes in the region. Traders came from Algeria and Libya to deal in goods like dates, olives, and grain. The town is well known for its numerous ghurfas (granaries) so typical of Berbers in southern Tunisia. Jews owned some of the ghurfas and used them as warehouses. The Jewish community of Medenine …

Valensi, Alfred

(258 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Alfred Valensi, the founder of the first Zionist organization in Tunisia,was born in 1878 in Tunis. He studied law at the University of Montpellier in France, writing his thesis on French divorce law. Influenced while in school by Jeshua Bouchmil, he became a follower of Max Nordau, who worked with Theodor Herzl. After graduating from the university in 1905, Valensi returned to Tunis, where he founded  Agudat Ṣion, the first Zionist organization in Tunisia. He wrote an incisive defense of the Zionist movement in response to the criticisms of the French social reformer Alfred Naquetin   La …

Brami, Felix

(191 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Born in Tunis on September 9, 1940, Felix Said Brami became a renowned boxer. Between 1956 and 1961, with Joe Guez as his coach, he won all thirty of his amateur matches and the bantamweight championship (1959) of Tunisia. He left Tunisia for France in 1961 and began his professional career there, training with coach Gaston Charles Raymond and wearing a Magen David with the initials “FB” in the center on his boxing trunks. In 1964 he won the bantamweight championship of France and was rated no. 6 bantamweight in the world by Ring magazine. He lost the bantamweight championship in 1970, …

Ghez, Paul

(329 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Paul Ghez was born in Sousse, Tunisia, in 1898. At the age of eighteen, he was wounded while serving as a volunteer in a French artillery unit during World War I. After studying law in France, he became a lawyer and joined the group around La Justice , a newspaper that supported the assimilation of Tunisian Jews into French culture. He was also a member of the Jewish council and head of the veteran’s organization Les Anciens Combattants. Ghez volunteered again for the French army during World War II. From 1942 to 1943, when Tunisia was occupied by the Nazis, he was the chairman of the Comité de Recr…

Sports, Jews in (Tunisia)

(506 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Jewish sports activities in Tunisia began during the French Protectorate period (1881–1956). For many Jews, athletic activities and organized sports were an expression of modernity and of assimilating European influence. In the first decades of the twentieth century, Tunisian Jewish athletes were at the pinnacle of achievement. They competed successfully not just in Tunisia, but throughout North Africa and in Europe.       The participation of Tunisian Jews in sports was the result of several influences. Most important, perhaps, the French protectorate regime, though its D…

Maarek, Henri

(269 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Henri Maarek was born in Tunis in 1893. His father, Messod(1861–1941), was one of the best and most talented modern Hebrew scholars of the Tunisian Haskala (Hebrew Enlightenment) and the editor of the Judeo-Arabic newspapers al-Bustān (1888–1906) and al-Naḥla (1892–1895). Maarek was educated at a kuttāb (Jewish elementary school), the Alliance Israélite Universelle school, and a yeshiva. Upon completing his education, he became a teacher in the Alliance school. Between 1930 and 1934, Maarek was a member of a committee charged with improving education in the Jewis…

Tunis Riots (1967)

(517 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
The riots in Tunis at the beginning of June 1967 were a reaction to the Six-Day War in the Middle East. They were a turning point in the history of the Tunisian Jewish community. A major consequence of the unrest was that most of the Jews who had remained after Tunisian independence in 1956 left the country. Just before noon, on June 5, 1967, a Muslim mob set the British Library in Tunis afire. That afternoon the mob moved on to the American Library, the offices of Trans World Airlines (TWA), and the American embassy. After that, the mob began to attack Jewish property, mainly automobil…

Perez, Victor (“Young Perez”)

(268 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Victor Perez was a Jewish boxer who won the world flyweight championship in 1931 at the age of twenty-one, becoming the first Jewish fighter from North Africa to win a world title. Born in 1911 in Tunis, where he boxed as an amateur,  he moved to France and became a professional boxer under the name “Young Perez,” to distinguish him from his brother  Benjamin, also a boxer, who was known as “Kid Perez.” He fought his first professional match on February 4, 1928, against an Italian fighter whom he beat by only a few points. His first title win was the French…

Monastir (Tunisia)

(420 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Monastir (Ar. al-Munastīr) is a small coastal town on the Gulf of Hammamet about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) south of Sousse. Known in antiquity as Ruspina, Monastir, like many of the port towns on the Tunisian coast, was originally a Punic–Roman city upon whose ruins the medieval and modern cities were built. The Romanian Jewish traveler Benjamin II (J. J. Benjamin), who visited Tunisia in 1853 to 1854, mentioned Monastir as a having a Jewish community, but he did not visit the town. Under the French protectorate (1881–1956), Monastir remained a …


(428 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Matmata (Ar.-Berb. Māṭmāṭa), is the name of a Berber tribe and a mountainous region in southeastern Tunisia. It is also the name of a mountain town in the region that is distinguished by its underground (troglodyte) dwelling caves. The architecture of each house is the same: a large sunken courtyard in the center, surrounded by rooms opening into it (a Matmatan hotel of this type in nearby Tataouine was made famous as Luke Skywalker’s home in the motion picture Star Wars). The village of Matmata is situated in the hills at the eastern edge of the Sahara desert. After they o…

Cohen-Hadria, Victor

(370 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Victor Cohen-Hadria was born in Tunis in 1891. His father, a native Tunisian who worked as a bank clerk and later as an olive oil merchant, died in 1901. His mother was a French citizen born in Algeria. Cohen-Hadria was educated at the Lycée Carnot in Tunis and then went to France to study law in Aix-en-Provence. After graduation he was employed as a clerk in an attorney’s office, and worked nights at a newspaper to help support his family. Cohen-Hadria became a famous lawyer and very early in his career was made a judge ( juge de paix). He also taught at the Centre d’études de droit de Tunis, mai…


(7,943 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Tunisia, located on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, lies between the modern-day nations of Algeria and Libya. The northern part of the country, between the Atlas Mountains to the west, which rise to nearly 800 meters (2,625 feet), and the sea to the north and east, is semi-arid, but rather fertile. The northern region boasts important agricultural areas, such as Cap Bon and the Medjerda Valley, famed for its grain and olive oil. The southern part of Tunisia is more arid and dominate…


(1,151 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Sousse (Ar. Sūsa) is port city on the central Tunisian coast, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of Tunis and 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of Qayrawān. One of Tunisia’s most ancient cities—founded by the Phoenicians as Hadrumentum in the eleventh century B.C.E.—Sousse has long been a port of strategic importance.        Although there is evidence in the Cairo Geniza documentsof a Jewish community in Sousse in the tenth and eleventh centuries, the record is limited. It is known that Nissim ben Jacob ibn Shāhīn (d. 1062) lived in Sousse for a while. Some members of the …


(414 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Béja (Ar. Bāja) is a town in the north of Tunisia about 97 kilometers (60 miles) west of Tunis in the fertile Medjerda Valley.  In ancient times, it was the site of a Roman colony called Vaga, and was the central wheat-growing region and breadbasket of Tunisia; hence its appellation throughout the medieval period was Bājat al-Qamḥ (Ar. Béja of Grain).  In the modern period, the French built a new residential quarter for French settlers who worked on large farms in the area.             Jews likely first came to the town in the seventeenth century, mostly from Algeria. One of t…

Haddad de Paz, Charles

(285 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Charles Haddad de Paz was the  last president of the Tunisian Jewish community. Born in 1910, he studied at the Alliance Israélite Universelle school in Tunis and became a teacher there in 1928. He was also a lawyer and a member of the Chamber of Advocates. He was very active in Jewish communal institutions from the late 1930s, was elected vice-president of the Jewish Community Council in 1947, and was its president from 1951 to 1958, the year when the Tunisian government (following independence in 1956) decided to abolish the council. In 1958 Haddad left Tunisia for Marseilles. Ther…
▲   Back to top   ▲