FORGOTTEN EXODUS OF JEWS FROM ARAB LANDS
This Passover held a special significance for victims of a modern Jewish exodus — from Arab countries. Just before it, Israel’s deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon announced that justice for 870,000 Jewish refugees driven out of Arab countries would become official government policy.
The Arabs have never ceased raising the refugee issue while the Israeli government has been silent. The Ayalon initiative breaks new ground, by publically laying the blame for the creation of both sets of refugees at the door of the Arab League states who attacked Israel in 1948. His ministry recommends that an international fund be established to compensate both groups. Israeli embassies around the world have been instructed to promote Jewish refugee rights
Some 52 per cent of Israel’s Jewish population descend from refugees forced to leave their homes and possessions in Muslim lands. Another 200,000 found sanctuary in the West. Few have ever received compensation, and their plight has never been internationally recognised. Yet there were more Jewish refugees than Palestinian refugees, and they lost some 50 per cent more in assets.
We hope that Ayalon’s initiative will promote peace by making both sides recognise that an exchange of roughly equal numbers of refugees took place. Arab states need to follow the model of successful Jewish refugee resettlement, instead of feeding the vain Palestinian hope of a “right of return” to Israel, a country which most refugees have never seen. Lyn Julius Harif — UK Association of Jews from the Middle East and N Africa email@example.com