La Voix des Communautés
About this newspaper
La Voix des Communautés (The Voice of the Communities) was founded by the Council of Jewish Communities in Morocco (Conseil des Communautés Israélites du Maroc) – a body which united the heads of the communities and served as the central organization of Moroccan Jews since 1947. The council was founded during the period of the French protectorate, after World War II, within the framework of reforms enacted by the colonial government in an effort to respond to the pressures of the young generation of Jewish leadership and hush the latter's call for democracy and self-expression. The French entrusted the leadership of the council and the management of the newspaper to their loyal supporters, at whose head was Jacques Dahan. Dahan, secretary-general of the council, was not the official editor, but he stood at the head of the newspaper's staff, led it closely, and maneuvered between the dictates of the French government and the expectations of his Jewish community. The editors of La Voix des Communautés, as well as the majority of its readers, represented the central stream among the rising westernized stratum of local Jewry. Their language was French, their culture was both Jewish and westernized, and was inspired by the same circles among French Jews and other western Jewish communities who had not lost interest in their Jewish identity, but had also not become pro-Zionist. The newspaper gave a special place to the special connection of Moroccan Jews to the branches of Sephardic Jewry and its organizations in western countries. Israel was not given a great deal of attention by the editors; it aroused a certain interest and degree of identification, but it did not stand in the center of their consciousness. Their French orientation was full and incontestable.
During its first period (1950-1956), the newspaper was published every month or two, often with even longer gaps, and included 4-8 pages. These pages provided extensive information on the council's activities and on the public life of Moroccan Jews, on projects of reform in the fields of health and education, and on the events of the Jewish world in general and the Sephardic Jewish world in particular.
With Morocco's transition to independence in 1956, the council's leadership was replaced and the newspaper ceased to appear for a period of five years. It resumed its activities in 1961 under the new head of the council, David Amar, who was simultaneously a close associate of both the Moroccan royal family and international Jewish organizations. This second period of activity was not long-lived, and it more or less coincided with the time of the massive wave of aliyah which led the majority of Moroccan Jews to the State of Israel. Two main themes arise, during this period, from the newspaper's pages: the first is loyalty to Morocco and its royal family, and the second is the upholding of the rights of Jews as citizens of equal rights and obligations. The messages of this period are therefore substantially different from those of the first period, but the paper continued its tradition as an invaluable source for information on Moroccan Jews, the dominant attitudes of their leadership, and the vision which the heads of the council sought to impart to their communities.
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