Daniel, Menahem Salih

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DANIEL, MENAHEM SALIH

DANIEL, MENAHEM SALIH (1846–1940), leader of the Baghdad community. Daniel's family, which was of Georgian origin, had left him large estates, mostly in the vicinity of the town of Hilla, Iraq. In 1876 he was elected to the Ottoman parliament, and in 1924 to the Iraqi parliament. In 1925 he was appointed representative of the Iraqi Jews in the senate, a post he retained until the early 1930s when he was succeeded by his son Ezra. His great influence in the Baghdad community was due to his great wealth, his close ties with the authorities, and especially his philanthropy. Both he and his son were opposed to Zionist activity in Iraq, fearing that it would incense the Arabs.

His son ezra menahem daniel (d. 1952) was a member of the Iraqi senate from the time he succeeded his father until his death. In the senate, he defended Iraqi Jews with great courage. In 1946 he refused to testify before the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry (investigating the situation of the Jews in Palestine), despite the attempt of the Iraqi government to force him to do so.

bibliography:

A. Ben-Jacob, Yehudei Bavel (1965), index (includes bibl. in English, Hebrew, and Arabic).

[Haim J. Cohen]