The Bene Israel are probably the only Jewish community in the world today which did not experience anti-Semitism. Living in harmony with their Indian neighbors for two thousand years, they were free to practice Judaism and develop as a community.
In recent years Jews in Iraq were permitted to live in two cities only - Baghdad and Basra. They numbered about 500 in total. The community in Baghdad was founded in the mid-eighth century and from the 9th-11th centuries was the seat of the exilarch (Resh Galutah). During the gaonate the Jews lived in a special quarter ("Dar Al-Yahud") and the "Jewish Bridge" connected them to the rest of the city. The yeshivot of Sura and Pumbedita were established in Baghdad at the end of the 9th century. The city played an important role in the Karaite movement.
Traditionally, the Jewish communities of modern Afghanistan trace their beginnings to the Assyrian Exile (720 BCE) and the Babylonian Exile (560 BCE). Although there is little archaeological evidence supporting this traditional belief, various findings have provided material evidence to indicate a continuous Jewish presence on the territory of Afghanistan since the 8th century CE until the 20th century