Chouraqui, André

views updated


CHOURAQUI, ANDRÉ (1917– ), Israeli author and public figure. Born in Aïn-Témouchent, Algeria, Chouraqui studied political economy and Muslim law at Paris University and the Institut de France. A World War ii French resistance fighter, he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government and also received various Israel decorations. Soon after World War ii, Chouraqui worked as a lawyer and judge for two years in Algeria and was appointed deputy secretary general of the Alliance Israélite Universelle before serving as a permanent delegate for over 20 years

One of the few North African Jewish intellectuals who immigrated to Israel, Chouraqui served as personal adviser to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion on problems of the integration of ethnic communities (1959–63). He was deputy mayor of Jerusalem from 1965 to 1969, in charge of cultural, interfaith, and international issues. His public activity reflected a deep commitment to dialogue between cultures and religions at an international level: he co-founded and presided over the Interfaith Committee, co-founded Judeo-Christian Friendship, and was associated with the World Conference on Religions and Peace. Together with Muslim and Christian clerics, he founded the Brotherhood of Abraham, an organization devoted to reconciliation among the three monotheistic religions. He published many works on Jewish history, biblical studies, contemporary Israel, and relations between religions, among them: Les Juifs d'Afrique du Nord (1952; revised translation, Between East and West: a History of the Jews of North Africa, 1968); La pensée juive (1965); L'Alliance israélite universelle et la Renaissance juive contemporaine, 1860–1960 (1965); Lettre à un ami Arabe (1969, Letter to an Arab Friend, 1972); Lettre à un ami chrétien (1971); Vivre pour Jérusalem (1973); La vie quotidienne des hommes de la Bible (1978); Ce que je crois (1979, Man in Three Worlds, 1984); Jesus et Paul, fils d'Israël (1988); La reconnaissance: le Saint-Siège, les Juifs et Israël (1992, on the Vatican's policy toward Jews and Israel); Moïse (1995); Jérusalem revisitée (1995); Jérusalem, ville sanctuaire (1997); Les dix commandements aujourd'hui (2000); and Mon testamentLe feu de l'Alliance (2001). He also wrote a biography of Theodor Herzl (1960; A Man Alone, 1970) and, in 1990, he published an autobiography, L'amour fort comme la mort.

Chouraqui is also well known for having translated into French, in a highly individualistic way, the holy texts of the three monotheistic religions: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Koran. In June 1977 Chouraqui was awarded a gold medal by the French Academy for his literary work.


Tidhar, 15 (1966), 4658–59; R. de Tryon-Montalembert, André Chouraqui, homme de Jérusalem (1979); C. Aslanov, Pour comprendre la Bible: la leçon d'André Chouraqui (1999).

[David Corcos /

Dror Franck Sullaper (2nd ed.)]