MembersThe Jews of Arabia and the Making of Islam, Part 15

A thousand years of Jewish life in Khyabar are coming now to a violent end.

By Yoni Israel | | Topics: Jews of Arabia
Photo: Doron Horowitz/Flash90

Khyabar, the final betrayal

Following the death of the head of the Huqayq family, Marhab ibn Al-Harith, a delegate of 30 honorable Jews emerge from the fort of Khyabar in an attempt to negotiate with Mohammed. “Wait here,” the Muslim guard orders them before riding off to his master. Minutes later, dozens of Muslim soldiers come out of nowhere and slaughter the hapless Jews.

“We should remain inside the fort,” says Khart, brother of the slain Marhab. “Let Mohammed exhaust himself.” Khyabar is filled with underground tunnels storing treasures, food and water. The location of the water holes is a military secret. “We can survive here for 10 years. Mohammed and his men can’t,” repeats Khart, laying out his strategy. Mohammed’s army knows it too.

No one notices the silhouette of the skinny figure passing quietly from the Jewish to the Muslim camp. “I am Azul, the Jew,” he introduces himself, “and I know where...

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