Iraqi Jews: Saddam's sentence fair

Former leader of underground Zionist movement: Now it's his turn to [hang].

four-eyed saddam 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
four-eyed saddam 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Iraqi-born Jews had mixed reactions to the news that deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging Sunday.
  • 'Don't take revenge on US invaders' According to Mordechai Ben-Porat, who led the underground Zionist movement in Iraq in the 1940s and '50s and today heads the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in Or Yehuda, Hussein "was both good and bad for the Jews. When he was deputy president in 1969, he ordered 11 Jews hanged, but when he became president, sometimes he helped them." Regarding the sentence, Ben-Porat said, "He deserves it. We are used to hanging in Iraq, now it's his turn to test it out." He compared the situation for Jews in Iraq over the years to a "pot of gold with a scorpion in it. From time to time, they were persecuted, and that was the scorpion. But during other periods of quiet, they saw the gold and Jews were very glad because it was a good time for them." Shaul Ben-Haim, a former Israeli diplomat from Iraq, called the ruling "adequate." "The judicial procedure was inadequate, but politically speaking, the verdict was," he said. Yehezkel Fattal, a lawyer originally from Iraq, believes the verdict was "fair enough." "He's worthy of his punishment and the trial was very fair," he said. "As a matter of fact, it was more fair than the trials which he conducted for his enemies. This trial was a stage for him to express himself, that's what this trial was."