The Hand of God: How My Father Survived the Nazi-Inspired Farhud, Part I

Arabic-Language-Mein-KampfTiffany Gabbay’s article below was originally published by TheBlaze in December, 2012. FrontPage is reprinting this piece as a two-part series to serve as a primer for a future series of articles that will highlight the plight of the “forgotten refugees” (Jewish refugees) who fled persecution, oppression, dhimmitude, pogroms, and eventually, exile, throughout the Middle East and Maghreb.

Reprinted from

There are few chapters in history that have ever revealed the face of evil or were wrought in more human suffering and degradation than the Shoah. What many do not realize, however, is that the poisonous barbs of Hitler’s Final Solution were not confined solely to Europe, but stretched far beyond to the East, where my father, and his father were born.


My father, Joseph Gabbay, was an Israeli hero who served proudly and bravely in the Jewish State’s War of Independence in 1948. From as early as I can remember, he would tell me stories of his journey from a life of wealth and privilege in Iraq, embraced by the warmth of family and educated at the prestigious Alliance School, to a humble, solitary existence of labor and study on a kibbutz in Haifa where he first learned to speak Hebrew and would later prepare for war.

Gabbay Family in Iraq

As I grew older, and my “Abba” (father) felt I was mature enough to handle greater truths, his stories became more piquant, filled with details of his pains and struggles, joys and triumphs. Each retold memory was imbued with a sense of pride and humility; reverence and awe at how he and his lonsmen in battle, so severely outnumbered, were at the mercy of the “Hand of God.” For as much as he witnessed, although his own blood had been spilled, my father would never have traded it for the world. He was a part of Israel. And so, too, became I.

Though it was clear Abba restrained himself a great deal, never wishing to frighten me with the disturbing details of the horrors he endured, he said enough. I knew he suffered. The greatest, kindest man I have ever known, who was filled with an infectious light and beloved by all he encountered, was forced to survive a barbarism few, save those who have faced evil in war, could fathom even in the darkest recesses of the mind.

Some of the most poignant of my father’s true stories revolved around two fateful operations during the War of Independence. They are as relevant today as they were then. But to get to that story, I must first tell you how my father came to be an Israeli.


My father was born in Baghdad, as was his father before him. In fact, our family lineage can be traced back to Babylonian times. Throughout history, various forces came to rule over Iraq, from the Ottomans, to the Mongols, to the British, but in all its incarnations there was only one constant. Indeed, since the 6th century BCE, the Jewish people maintained a consistent and deeply influential presence in Babylon over 1,000 years before Islam arrived.

In my grandfather’s prime, Iraq fell under the auspices of the British Mandate and Jews, who until then were vehemently discriminated against, finally became recognized as full-fledged citizens. They were given the right to vote, hold political office and indeed, attain their rightful place in society.

Although the British Mandate of Iraq officially ended in 1930, the Baghdad of my father’s childhood was still highly influenced by the monarchy and was a flourishing metropolis if ever there was one. Members of the city’s established Jewish community, which comprised 40 percent of Baghdad’s population, along with its Christian counterpart, played an indispensable role in shaping the land into a thriving paradise that enjoyed economic, agricultural and societal prosperity.

Still, as they are wont to do, the primitivism and tribalism, the jealousy and loathing, the anti-Semitism that has long-served as hallmarks of the Arab world, reared its ugly head eventually. It was not before long that a pro-Nazi prime minister took hold of the kingdom and, just like that, the nearly three millennia-old Iraqi Jewish community was faced with outright extinction (sound familiar?).

Many, including some students of history are unaware of the fact that the Holocaust was not confined solely to Europe, but that its reach stretched as far as the Middle East and North Africa. While Arabs certainly needed no help fomenting hatred of their Jewish neighbors, it was Adolf Hitler who solidified, in their minds, the belief that the genocide they had always dreamed of was actually attainable. As the Final Solution raged in the West, Muslims in the East saw Hitler’s Third Reich as the model to emulate. And so they tried.

See Part II in Monday’s edition.

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  • UCSPanther

    The Nazis weren’t merely content to keep their evil within Europe. They wanted to spread it all around the world.

    The Arab world was receptive to it, and it gave their hatreds a major supercharge which persists to this day. The fact that both Protocols and Mein Kampf are best sellers in the Middle East are proof of this…

    • JeanJean

      Do you really believe that Islam needed Hitler to create the murderous antisemitism and hate against christians that is on the core of Islam since the days of Mohamed? Hitler admired the muslims for their concept of jihad. He studied the worlds reaction , or non reaction, to the Armenian genocid .There was evil before Hilter and there is evil today without him.It’s far worse than you think.

      Islam is still Islam and Obama declared he will help the muslims if they come under assault. And look what happens in Egypt..

      Read Andrew Bostoms articles and books and Diana West’s new book.

    • defcon 4

      Muslimes were slaughtering Jews before anyone on earth even spoke the German language, much less before there was any state of Germany.

  • motherofbeaver

    As a child of Holocaust survivors in Europe I found this a very moving article. I really had no idea of the extent of the Jewish suffering in the Middle East during the second World War. It also brought back memories of my wonderful father who overcame so much and still, without bitterness, was able to go on and create a new life. For me this is the dividing line between Judaism and Islam, the former is about life and the latter is obsessed with death.

    • victoryman

      Do not forget that the Grand Mufti was in bed with Hitler………..

      • TiffanyGabbay

        Hi victoryman — yes, part 2 of this article will talk about the Grand Mufti and Hitler and the Farhud.

        • victoryman

          Tiffany. You are bringing into the light a history of darkness that is important to never be forgotten. Thucydides stated that, “History is philosophy, teaching by example.” We see this in full color in your article on an often neglected slice of Middle Eastern shameful history that was overshadowed by Hitler’s “Final Solution. “Never again,” are words that must never be forgotten, but, more importantly, must be put into action. We must always remember, that history repeats…….only the names change. I look forward to Part 2. Thank you for undertaking this important, informative task. You are obviously doing this from the heart. God Bless you.

          • JeanJean

            Since the dark days of Hitlers reign the “never again” was said often but seldom sayd honest. It became an empty phrase used in the political struggle.

            Today the “never again” is used to vilify Israel or those who oppose the islamisation of the west.

            We have to take it back. To remember untold history of individual suffering is an important way to do it and to feel the obligation for today.

            And yes, I never thought so but had to learn that evil can change its name , can seduce people all over the world and repeat.

          • victoryman

            Right on target, JeanJean.

    • TiffanyGabbay

      Couldn’t have said it better myself regarding the dividing line. Bless your father and you!

      • motherofbeaver

        Thank you.

  • Lt_Greyman_NVA

    Well there is “no business like shoa business” and it is clear that Frontpage is going to go for another generation of making money on the backs of the German people. Sadly, some of the “facts” concerning the holohoax are blowing up. Speilberg’s film featuring “Holocaust Survivors” has crashed and burned in a spectacular fashion ( See: ).

    Say, any new material about those Jew run camps in Ukraine and Russia where millions died? Or George Soros leading the SS around in a car pointing out where Jews used to live (What did he have, “Jewdar”)?

    • Reaper

      It’s good that you’ve brought your sickness out in the open. Revealing your inner fascist monster is the first step on the road to rehabilitation.

    • Drakken

      You either side with western civilization and that means the Jews, or you side with the Islamic savages, there is no middle ground, I would suggest you chose wisely for there will be no second chances.

      • Lt_Greyman_NVA

        I side with Western Civilization, but that does not include the Jews. Cass Sunstein, Rahm Emanuel, David Axerod, Ben Bernanke, the Jewish philosophy of Marx are not part of my future. The epithet of “Goyium” is as poisonous as the word “Infidel”. I reject them both and seek a White future.

        • defcon 4

          Follow the example your leader set in the Fuhrerbunker in 1944.

        • UCSPanther

          You white supremicists hate Jews so much that you would sell yourselves up the river to your enemies just to get rid of us.

          The Coptic Christians of Egypt did, and now look at them…

          • JeanJean

            Do you think the coptic christians are guilty of living in their own land under islamic persecution? Do you think the expulsion of the spanish jews was justified as many of them sided with the muslims. I don’t.

            Read Bat Ye or to learn that sometimes there is no possibility for easy moral judgement.

    • defcon 4

      Why don’t you, your family and friends try huffing some Xyklon B?

  • defcon 4

    I’ve read that Glubb Pasha, leader of the Arab Legion, may have been complicit in bringing about the Farhud by greenlighting the slaughter (i.e. giving assurances that the Arab Legion would not interfere).

  • defcon 4

    I’ll bet the MSM and academia obfuscate and/or deny the Farhud, as they do w/most islamofascist atrocities.

  • anolesboy

    We all talk about the dark days when Hitler spread his terror. And we all feel the pain of his destruction but we all now live in the same dark days that are now upon us and soon there will be no light left in our lives. Islam is spreading into all parts of the world. And there is no way of stopping them. They are coming, just look at Europe. And soon they will be at our Western shores just like Hitler was in Poland. They’re Coming……………………

    • LindaRivera

      The Muslims are invading for one reason and one reason only: Western ruling elite TRAITORS have welcomed them into our countries. European and British ruling elite TRAITORS have deliberately colonized Britain and Europe with many MILLIONS of Muslims. Ethnically cleansing our people and replacing them with hostile Muslims who hate us. Muslims whose Quran and mosques command Muslims to wage jihad against us and conquer our countries.

      What Muslims could NEVER achieve via a massive military invasion of our countries is being achieved by our traitor leaders volunteering the surrender of our nations and people to global Islam.

      It is the greatest crime in all of human history.