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GAETA, town N.W. of Naples. According to the Chronicle of *Ahimaaz (1054), *Aaron of Baghdad lived for a time in Gaeta in the ninth century, teaching his mystical and esoteric doctrines. The main occupation of the Jews of Gaeta in the 12th century was dyeing, on which they had to pay a special tax. From the 15th century Jewish loan-bankers and pawnbrokers were also active there. In 1468 the city requested the permission of King Ferrante I to expel a Jewish moneylender for usurious practices and to limit the sale of pawned goods. In 1471 the city again demanded that the Jews living in Gaeta should not be permitted to give loans at interest (with the exception of a certain Salomon), and that the sale of objects given in pawn should be regulated by the royal court. In 1492–93 a number of refugees from Sicily and Spain settled there. In 1495 the city resisted the invasion of Charles VIII of France and many of its inhabitants were killed, including a number of Jews. The expulsion of 1510–11 did not bring the Gaeta community to an end, and in 1521 there were still Jewish moneylenders living there as attested by the deliberations of the city council that once again demanded the regulation of such activities. The Jews were finally expelled from Gaeta in 1541 in the general expulsion from the kingdom of Naples. A few Jewish families came to Gaeta in the 18th century, probably attracted by the favorable policy of Charles III of Bourbon who in the edicts of 1728 and 1740 invited Jews to live and trade in the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, but these attempts encountered strong political opposition and in July 1747 the Jews were again expelled from the whole kingdom. Jews returned to Gaeta in the 19th century. After World War II ships carrying Jewish illegal immigrants to Ereẓ Israel passed through the port of Gaeta.


Roth, Italy, index; Milano, Italia, index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: N. Ferorelli, Ebrei nell' Italia meridionale … (1990); V. Giura, Gli ebrei e la ripresa economica del regno di Napoli, 1740–1747 (Naples, 1978); P. Capobianco, Gli ebrei a Gaeta (Gaeta 1981); A. Sereni, I clandestini del mare: L'emigrazione ebraica in terra d'Israele dal 1945 al 1948 (1973; Hebrew, Sefinot lelo deghel, 1975).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.