Dafina.net Le Net des Juifs du Maroc



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Each new recruit was introduced to the Shaliah who wore a hood on his face. He would stand before a table covered with the Israeli flag on which laid a bible and a gun. The recruit would then swear under oath, fidelity to the State of Israel and to the Jewish people, and undertake to keep secret our common activities, the whole in presence of the senior Haverim.

Obviously, security rules were very strict. All the Haverim had a pseudonym. The days of meetings, they would walk around the block to make sure that there was no surveillance. Generally, the furnished apartment was in a building with two exits. We had setup an alternative rendezvous system. When a rendezvous was scheduled at a certain time and the contact wouldn’t show, the rendezvous was postponed by two hours at another location agreed upon earlier. Often, we would meet at a terrace café and, as a sign of reconnaissance; the contact would be identified by the brand of a certain drink or a certain newspaper.

6- Haverim’s Keness in Casablanca

I formed a first group of Haverim from the Hashomer Hatsair in Casablanca, then in Fez, Meknes, Marrakech and Rabat. Simon, the Shaliah, and I alternated visits to these groups city after city. We would make conferences on different topics and we organized camping activities in several places. And this is how we could form a first Garin Solelim who would make his Aliya in Israel.

Certainly, the youth movements have been the melting-pot from which we were able to pick young people capable to work for the clandestine emigration, the Makela, and other more secret tasks. But I must also mention those who came from Europe and other countries of North-Africa; and whom I personally met, such as Hubert Corchia (z’l) and Roger B., to name only the two. They were, for the most, from Oran, in Algeria, and spent two years in Morocco to supervise illegal emigration.

Roger B. played a very important role during our “Honeymoon”, the story of which is told further.

7 – Hubert Corchia (z’l) et Roger B.

In an effort to curb emigration to Israel, the Moroccan authorities decided to only deliver a few passports to selected Jews. This is why the Israeli organizations took action by delivering forged passports, creating a network capable, at night, to take families to the beaches where they would embark on small boats that would take them to a larger boat towards Gibraltar or Spain, and later be directed to the Holy Land.

The first Haverim in charge of the process of Aliya were Ouri M. and Gégène Chocron(z’l), killed in action on the Golan Heights during the six-day war. These two Haverim, after ceasing their activities with the youth movement, were affected to emigration.

8 – Gégène Chocron (z’l)

However, after having accomplished a great job, they were “burnt” and had to leave Morocco and joined the Ahshara in Agen in France. These two Haverim were the first members of Garin Solelin.

I remember one night when the Shaliah paid me a visit to inform me that the Aliya section needed my help for an important operation. My role consisted in going to Fez to take charge of five boys aged from ten to twelve, and take them to Casablanca. The parents in tears asked me to take care of their children dressed like scouts. During the trip, I told them that, if they were asked where they were going, they should simply answer that they were going to an important jamboree.

The boys were hungry and I realized that their parents, distracted by their emotions, had forgotten to give them any food. When the bus stopped for a pause, I bought sandwiches and drinks. While savoring a sandwich, one of the boys asked me if it was kosher. Without hesitation, I said “yes” while lying for a good cause!

Once in Casablanca, I delivered the boys to another member of the movement who sheltered them for the night. The following morning, I picked them up in my car in direction of the North. We made another pause to switch the boys into another car, and I went back to Casablanca. Fifteen days later, we received a telegraph from the Israeli Government, transmitted to us by our Shlichim, congratulating us for our participation in successfully emigration of 250 children through the Aliyat Hanoar. We were very happy of this success and proud to learn that the children had landed safe and sound, and that a great future awaited them. This was a demonstration of the efficiency of our organizations of which each contribution, as small it could have been, added to success of the other groups.

I praise the courage and the parents’ determination that showed a total trust towards the State of Israel and our other movements.

Whenever the members of a family made contact with the organization, showing their willingness to make Aliya, they were instantly taken charge of. We would then give them an approximate departure time and asked them to discretely dispose of their possessions, not to attract suspicion from their neighbors. Each member of the family was allowed only one suitcase, leaving very little choice between the necessary and the indispensable.

Sometimes, on the set departure date, it was impossible to leave and the date would be postponed. The families had to rely on the minimum available to them, and we had to provide them with food. The wait was excruciating. The emigrants, and us too, lived in the anxiety of the departure, the fear of being arrested which demoralized everyone. However, the fierce desire to reach the land of Israel took over everything else and, while writing these lines forty-for years later, tears come to my eyes and I remember the courage of these anonymous families, simple and rich in hope and whom, without saying a word, proved to each of us that Zionism was not just a word.

On that note, I remember a rumor that spread around the Mallah: The Arab owner of the public oven, where the Jewish families had brought their dafinas to be cooked, realizing that the plates brought on Friday were still there on Saturday, he would say: “Another ten families have left for Israel”. This rumor is engraved in my memory and demonstrates that no one could predict a precise departure date.

Around October 1960, a second group from Garin Solelim, composed of four members bearing pseudonyms Orna, Moshe, Lulu, Felix et Yuval, left for the Achshara of Agen without identification. A few days later, we learnt that they had been arrested at the border and thrown in jail in Nador, a city located in the Rif on the Mediterranean. The organization immediately mandated lawyers to obtain their liberation. Obviously, all the Haverim were worried about their wellbeing as well as their reaction to eventual interrogation. All members of the organization who had been in contact with them were now hiding, and certain groups ceased all activities to guarantee security. However, we were relieved to learn from the lawyer in charge of their defense that they had not suffered much from interrogation.

We got in touch with the families, so they could see the prisoners, but this seemed to be a risk. I volunteered to help but, given the fact that I was known by the five Haverim, and probably “burnt” myself, this option was rejected. In spite of that, I insisted that being a native of the same town, like Lulu, I could stand as a cousin and it would seem normal that a cousin could visit one of the prisoners. The contact with the lawyer was loose, but we were determined to inform the five prisoners that we supported them and that we would bring them food and cigarettes to lighten their spirits.

As soon as I got the green light, I shaved my goatee to change my appearance and took a train to Oujda, city located at the Algero-Moroccan border. After spending the night on the train, I got off in Oujda, a city I didn’t know at all, and tried to find a transport to Nador. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to reach Nador. I had to resign myself, for visits were only authorized during the day. But a man who might have heard me inquire about Nador approached me and offered to take me there for a fee. I took for granted that this was a collective taxi, but, as we were driving, I realized it was not the case. I felt I had made a mistake and that my security was in jeopardy. I was sitting at the back next to a Moroccan, and a woman was sitting in the passenger seat. Each of us paid the agreed fee. The driver asked me the reason to go to Nador, and I replied that I was on vacation and wanted to go to enjoy the beach of Melilla. He invited me to pay him a visit at his home and told me that he was a policeman working at the Nador-Melilla border, a Spanish enclave up to this day. I became anxious and made insurmountable efforts not to panic.

But the driver was jovial and started groping the woman. She pushed him and tried to open the door, as the car speeded. He tried to reach the door and lost control of the vehicle which rolled over several times until it stopped upside down at the bottom of a ravine. Miraculously, we were safe, except for the woman who had disappeared. We climbed up the ravine and, once on the road, we saw the woman covered with blood a hundred yards away from us. There was a feeling of total panic on my part, the woman was screaming and I had only on thought in my mind: disappear! But how? I feared the intervention of the police and an investigation that could rapidly destroy my alibi of vacation in Melilla. I don’t know if it was luck or a miracle, but a bus appeared suddenly and slowed down to watch the scene. I asked the driver to stop and jumped in the bus. The stupid policeman thought he had to run after me to give me my money back, instead of taking care of that poor woman, but I refused and the bus left.

I finally arrived in Nador and started looking for a place where I could clean up and restore my composure. It was a real Arab city with a wide avenue lined with Moorish cafés. I was rather looking for a European café, one like the ones we find in all the cities of Morocco when, at the end at the avenue leading to the sea, I discovered a superb restaurant built over the sea on piles. I entered and went directly to the men’s room where I could undress. Tiny fragments of glass fell from my clothes and I could see I wasn’t bleeding. I ordered a coffee and a sandwich, and then I bought canned food, fresh fruits and American cigarettes for my friends.

9 – Restaurant on piles in Nador

I approached the prison with much apprehension. After filling a form and answered a lot of question, I had access the visitor’s room where Lulu “my cousin” waited for me. He was very happy by this surprise. Here and there I could see the other Harevim trying to catch my attention. My arrival in that prison was instantly noticed. Their morale was excellent. The only shadow on this picture was that Orna was separated from the men. But Lulu reassured me that she was confident in spite of her isolation. I took his word for I knew her strong and optimistic character. My worse difficulty was that the guard imposed us to speak in Arabic. My Arab was terrible, but by giving the guard a few packs of Marlborough, he left us alone and we could talk in French. I told him that we were doing the impossible to get them out of there. After saying good bye, I left Nador. I went back to Nador to accompany Orna’s sister, but this time, everything worked out. Today, Nador is now a large city with a strong metallurgic industry, and this famous restaurant is still there. One month later, the five prisoners were released. But this liberation was conditional and they had to go back to their parents. Evidently, the organization took care of them and booked them in little hotel in Tanger where they would wait for their departure.

10 – The prisoners are now liberated with Dan et Daphna





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Traditional meal of Shabbat, this delicacy made of wheat, dried peas and meat was slowly cooked overnight in a low-temp oven.
The word comes from arabic "dafina or adafina" meaning "covered, smothered".




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