Watch Perla and Shuli's Story
Shuli Wilder (Née Shulamit Abergel) was born in 1956, in Rishon L'Tzion, Israel and is of Moroccan descent. Shuli’s mother, Perla Abergel, was born in 1937, in Casablanca, Morocco. Jewish people have an extensive history in the land of Morocco.
In 587BCE, Israel, the Jewish homeland became occupied by the Babylonians. After which, the Holy Temple, along with most of the city of Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. As a result, the Jewish citizens were exiled from their homeland and forced to find a new place of residence. Many fled to Morocco and settled in cities throughout the country, with the largest community living in Casablanca.
Around the time Perla was born, the country of Morocco boasted a Jewish population of nearly 300,000. However, as time passed there was a considerable increase of anti-semitism, as well as anti-zionism within the country. In 1947, at the age of ten, Perla recalls being accosted while on her way home from school — some children stole her hair pin, and said that Jewish people needed to go live somewhere else.
In 1948, the reestablishment of the State of Israel lead to an intensification of anti-semitic sentiment, as well as riots among Moroccan Muslims. As things in the region became less stable, Perla’s family realized it was no longer a safe place for them to remain and they made the decision to leave the country. In 1949, Perla and her family fled Morocco for the safety of Israel.
As time went on, conditions in Morocco continued to deteriorate. As a result, the country experienced a mass exodus of Jews between 1948 and 1964, a time in which over 200,000 Jews fled the region. Migration continued, and as of 2017 the number of Jewish people living in Morocco has fallen to under 2,500 residents.
In spite of everything they have gone through, Shuli emphasizes that the Jewish people who fled, or were forced out of the country, harbor no ill-will toward Moroccan muslims. Instead, they simply want the right to have their own country and live in peace.
As of today, Perla and Shuli both reside in Los Angeles, California.