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Ask the rabbi Family and Society Settling the Land of Israel

Middle-East Jews are Israeli?

Rabbi Chaim Tabasky13 Sivan 5765
455
Question
The Jews that lived in countries such as Iraq or Iran, did they already accomplish the Mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael? If so, was their rescue by the state of Israel in contradiction of not leaving any part of Eretz Yisrael for any reason?
Answer
According to many authorities (see Tosephot Gittin 2a) the Mitzva of living in Eretz Yisrael only applies to those areas which were sanctified in the 2nd temple period. At any rate, much of Iraq and all of Iran are beyond the Euphrates River. Even if they accomplished the Mitzvah, saving them to live in another place in Eretz Yisrael would be proper. Leaving Eretz Yisrael means relinquishing control, but those Jews had not control over the land that was dominated by Arab rule. Hence, they were simply changing their address, not leaving.
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