This is a Revised & 2nd EBook version of the book published in 2007 by Brill.

[Personal remark: When my book, based on my PhD dissertation (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2003), which was published in 2007, by Brill, I never dreamt that the fruits of many years of research would be limited only to universities and institutions that can pay 180$ or so for the book. This high price prevented it from many interested readers in the wide public. This is why I re-edited and revised the book in eBook format so it would be available and purchasable at a cost price, for any interested person (ONLY for $15, just to cover the E-Pub production).

The book tells the story of  Jewish subjects (protected civilians, protégés) in Kurdistan. They had lived under the patronage of their Kurdish tribal chieftains (called “aghas,”  i.e., masters) and their Kurdish neighbors, during the 19th and 20th centuries, in towns and villages. The Jews have survived partly because the aghas granted “their” Jews patronage and protection, within the tribal region. The Jews were considered assets because of their loyalty and submissive attitude and lack of militant and rebellious tendency. In return for the protection of the aghas, the Jews paid tribal dues and taxes and supported their aghas in all sorts of financial and material forms.

The PhD and hence the book are based on hundreds of first-hand oral history interviews conducted by the author, between 1985 and 2002 in Israel with more than 60 elderly Kurdish Jews originally from Kurdistan. The informants have been interviewed between one to seven sessions and shared their memoirs on the Jews and the tribal Kurdish society with the author, who turned their rich and fascinating oral tales into accounts thanks to which he was then able to reconstruct and tell the history of the Jews and the tribal Kurdish society.

Several reviewers of the PhD thesis and the book praised the study. Here is a concise quote by an important scholar of Kurdish history, culture and language, Prof. Joyce Blau of INALCO, Paris, who wrote the following on the research upon which this book was based:

“Mr. Zaken’s thesis is highly original in both subject and method. The project he undertook is a significant one, in an academic area where there is still a dearth of knowledge, and his work complements the previous research which does exist. He made excellent methodological choices both in doing an impressive number of first hand interviews, a in the careful and detailed way he treated the material he obtained; his data is highly valuable. His work is an important contribution to the study of the Jewish diaspora, to the study of the specificities of the Kurdish Jews, to the study Jewish relations with Moslems and Christians in Iraqi Kurdistan, and to the study of Iraqi Kurdistan itself.” (Paris, 2003)

This book has been widely spread and has received attention from scholars in the Arab and Muslim world. It was translated into Arabic, in Beirut, by “the center for Academic Research (2013), and into Sorani Kurdish, in Arbil (2015). It was partially translated into French, Kurmanji Kurdish and Farsi as well. 

I am glad that the new E-book is now available ONLY for $15 (just to cover the E-Pub production). 

A lecture on the subject: