Mustaʿrab, Mustaʿrabs

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MUSTAʿRAB, MUSTAʿRABS , name of the Arab-speaking, old, established Jewish communities and residents in the Middle East. The term is borrowed from the Arabic. According to Arab genealogists, the "ʿArab al-Mustaʿriba" were not of native Arab stock; they were naturalized, "Arabized," Arabs. In Muslim Spain the Christians who adopted Arabic and Arab customs were called "Mozarabs." The term Mustaʿrab (better: Mustaʿrib) for Arabized Jews seems a late one; it occurs from the 15th century onward and seems to have been first used by immigrants from Christian Europe for the old, established Jews in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. The terms al-Mashāriqa ("Easterners") and Moriscos are sometimes used in the same sense.


Neubauer, Chronicles, 1 (1887), 146, 150; A. Yaari, Iggerot Ereẓ Yisrael (1943), 169; I. Ben-Zvi, Meḥkarim u-Mekorot (1966), 15–20.

[Haïm Z'ew Hirschberg]