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Zilkha, Naʿim


ZILKHA, NA ʿIM (1879–1929), Iraqi lawyer. Zilkha started to practice law in his native *Baghdad in 1904. In 1908 he became a member of the Beirut Court of Appeals, retaining his post for over ten years and rising to deputy president of the court. Returning to *Iraq in 1921, he became deputy president of the *Basra civil courts, and in 1922 president of the Diyala Province civil courts. He was elected to the Iraqi House of Representatives in 1925 and remained a member until his death. He was one of the few young Jews in the Iraqi House of Representatives who had the courage to express opposition to the government. In 1925 he was also appointed lecturer at the Baghdad law school, and became active in the Jewish community council; he was elected chairman of the "Jeshmi Committee," in charge of the secular affairs of the Jewish community, and held this position until his death. He made attempts to introduce reforms in the life of the Jewish community and to restrict the influence of religious dignitaries and the rich; he succeeded in forcing Rabbi *Dangoor to resign from his post as head of the community. Zilkha's sudden death put an end to the reforms that he had initiated.

[Hayyim J.Cohen]

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