SA'DIS (Banū Sa'd ), Arab dynasty of sharīfs (descendants of the Prophet *Muhammad) who penetrated *Morocco and ruled it from the mid-16th century to the 1660s. They succeeded the *Wattasids, retained *Fez as their capital, and fought relentlessly against the Spanish and Portuguese occupation of parts of Morocco. At first the Sa'dis appeared to be fanatical religious zealots who were intolerant of non-Muslims. They imposed heavy taxes on the local Jewish community. As they consolidated their authority in the country, however, they gradually evinced greater toleration toward the Jewish minority. Like their Wattasid predecessors, the Sa'di sultans now employed Jews as physicians, diplomatic emissaries, and interpreters. Beginning in 1603, Abraham bin Wach and later Judah Levi served as ministers of the treasury. Members of the Jewish aristocratic Cabessa and Palache families were recruited by the sultan's court as agents and negotiators with European merchants who entered the country. Whereas the authorities increasingly proved to be friendly toward the Jews, the same could hardly be said of the Muslim masses as well as local urban and rural chieftains and governors – the Arabs more than the *Berbers – who from time to time subjected them to harsh humiliations. The Sa'dis were succeeded in 1666 by another branch of their family, the *Alawid dynasty, whose sultans and kings ruled Morocco continuously. The current king of Morocco, Muhammad vi, is a member of this dynasty.
E. Bashan, Yahadut Marokko (2000); D. Corcos, Studies in the History of the Jews of Morocco (1976); H.Z. Hirschberg, A History of the Jews in North Africa, vols. 1–2 (1974); D.J. Schroeter, The Sultan's Jews: Morocco and the Sephardi World (2002); N.A. Stillman, Jews of Arab Lands (1979).
[Michael M. Laskier (2nd ed.)]