The Divergence of Judaism and Islam. Interdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil

(Joyce) #1

148 · Daniel J. Schroeter

“Oufran” by Jews) of the Anti-Atlas region suggests that Jews practically
did not work the land, did not own cows, goats, or sheep (though they
owned a higher percentage of donkeys), and very minimally harvested
trees (olives, dates, almonds). The trees (unlike in M’hamid) did not be-
long to the Jews in principle, but rather were declared “rented” by the
Jews; in reality they were Muslim properties held as security by Jewish
lenders, and the production of the harvest constituted the interest paid
by the Muslim debtors.^21 Even in the exceptional community of Oulad
Mansour, although Jews often owned their own cattle, only a few Jews
actually held title to their land as private property.^22 Most of the Jews of
Oulad Mansour rented small plots of land, usually paying the Muslim
owner a portion of their production.^23
Foreign control was extended before colonial rule along the coasts, and
through the pressure of foreign powers and the system of consular pro-
tection, foreigners acquired the right to own land. Among the major ben-
eficiaries were Jewish protégés of foreign powers, some of whom began
to acquire considerable lands in the regions surrounding the ports, often
through Muslims who mortgaged their land and then, after defaulting in
the repayment of loans, gave up their titles to the lands. The expansion of
commerce along the coast and the beginnings of commercialized agricul-
tural production also affected land tenure in the interior of the country.
Jews in the Sous region of southwestern Morocco, through their associa-
tion with Jewish merchants in Essaouira, were able to acquire deeds to
property from defaulted debtors, alarming the local Muslim authorities,
who appeared to be largely unsuccessful in prohibiting the practice.^24
It was not only the connection of protégés to foreign merchants that led
to an increase in Jewish landownership. Connections to powerful poten-
tates might also help Jews acquire land. Perhaps the most significant ex-
ample was the relationship to the dominant family in southern Morocco,
Madani al-Glawi and his brother Thami al-Glawi. In the years before the
establishment of the protectorate, the Makhzan came to rely increasingly
on the “grand qa ̓ids” to control the south. Ishu ̔a Corcos, the wealthy and
powerful leader of Marrakesh’s community, was tightly connected to the
Glawi family. The Glawi brothers became closely aligned to the French,
who helped bolster their position as virtual rulers of the regions to the
south of Marrakesh, with literally dozens of “Glawi” palaces and strong-
holds in the Atlas mountains and valleys to the south of Marrakesh. Af-
ter the death of Madani, Thami, the “Pasha of Marrakesh,” became the

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