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Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

Although much is heard about the plight of the Palestinian refugees, little is said about the Jews who fled from Arab states. In 1945, there were more than 870,000 Jews living in the various Arab states. Many of their communities dated back 2,500 years. Throughout 1947 and 1948 these Jews were persecuted. Their property and belongings were confiscated. There were anti-Jewish riots in Egypt, Lybia, Syria, and Iraq.

IsraCast Articles

Israel - The Birth Of A Nation

IsraCast presents a dramatic and historical audio report (with authentic recordings) of how and why Israel acquired the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights (Israel returned Sinai to Egypt as part of the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty of 1979). IsraCast offers this report and recordings to radio stations, educational institutions, and anyone interested in the quest of the Jewish State for independence and self-determination.

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Silent Exodus - The Jewish Nakbah

 More than a million Jews were expelled from Arab and Muslim countries between 1948 and 1974, without asking for compensation or the right to return. Pierre Rehov's "Silent Exodus", is a tribute to their tragedy.

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Arab World's Jewish Refugee Problem

It is probably the least known fact in the long and vociferous Arab-Israeli conflict: Consider this, more Jewish refugees were forced to flee from their homes in the Arab countries than all the Palestinians who were forced to flee or left of their own volition, from the newly born state of Israel in 1948. At a Jerusalem news conference, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced that Israel insisted that the Jewish refugees be 'a core element in any future negotiation or settlement to resolve the conflict'. The facts: after the Arab League categorically rejected the UN Partition Plan of 1947 that would have eventually created Israel and 'Palestine', it launched an invasion from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt aimed at destroying the nascent Jewish state. The combined Arab armies were defeated and driven back and in the wake of the Arab onslaught, an estimated 600,000 Palestinian refugees fled their homes. On the other side of this two-way street, an estimated 850,000 Jewish refugees were dispossessed and forced to leave the Arab countries. The Palestinians left behind property worth an estimated $400 million that is valued today $3.9 billion. However by comparison, the Jewish refugees lost an estimated $700 million that is now valued at $6 billion. Ayalon made the point:' Today some 50% of Israel's (Jewish ) residents are the same refugees and their progeny from the Arab countries'. Moreover those Jewish refugees, and Ayalon's own family was forced to flee Algeria, were absorbed by Israeli society whereas the Arab world, except for Jordan, forced the Palestinians into refugee camps where they fester until this very day.

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Historic Recognition of the Jewish Refugees

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling for the recognition of Jewish refugees forced to flee the Arab countries. In the wording of the non-binding resolution: 'Explicit reference to Palestinian refugees be matched by a similar explicit reference to Jewish and other refugees as a matter of law and equity'. In a recent interview with IsraCast, Canadian Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister in Canada, estimated there were more Jewish Jewish refugees from the Arab countries than there were Palestinian refugees.

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MIDDLE EAST REFUGEES - PALESTINIAN & JEWISH

Irwin Cotler, a Canadian MP and former justice minister in Canada, has said there is no legal or moral basis for the Palestinian demand that the Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to Israel. In an interview with IsraCast, Prof. Cotler contended that the Arab League rejection of the 1947 Partition Plan and its war against the new born state of Israel was responsible not only for the estimated 550,000 Palestinian refugees but also for the some 1,000,00 Jewish refugees who were driven out of Arab countries after their property and assets were sequestered.

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More Than One Million Jewish Refugees

One of the thorniest issues in the upcoming Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will be the refugee question, on both sides. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian officials claim the 'right of return' for the Palestinian refugees and their descendants who fled Palestine after the neighboring Arab states declared war on Israel in 1948. However, it appears that a similar number of Jewish refugees also fled from Arab countries, this after the Arab-League drafted a law that in effect confiscated their property and considered them to be 'members of the Jewish minority state of Palestine'.

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US Government Leaders Experience Israel

The America-Israel Friendship League sponsored a mission to Israel with the assistance of the National Association of Counties allowing county leaders from across the U.S. to visit Israel from November 12 -18, 2006.  Additional assistance and cooperation was provided by the Union of Local Authorities of Israel.  Participants included eleven county commissioners, executives and mayors, along with officials from the National Association of Counties.

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Related Videos

Irwin Cotler on the Jewish Refugees from Arab States

Related Images

Jewish refugees from Arab countries, Haifa, 1950
Transit camp for Jews in the Negev, 1949
Jewish Immigrants from Iraq, 1951
operation "Magic Carpet" (1949-1950) - the entire community of Yemenite Jews (about 49,000) immigrated to Israel
The original document by the committee of the Arab League
The original document by the committee of the Arab League. It was affixed to a Jan. 19, 1948 Memorandum submitted to the UN Economic and Social Council warning that “all Jews residing in the Near and Middle East face extreme and imminent danger”.