‘Include Jewish refugees in talks’ – Ayalon

Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, has made another call for Jewish refugees from Arab countries to be returned to the international peace agenda, Point of No Return notes with great excitement. Authoritative statements by Israeli government ministers are just what this issue needed. The Jerusalem Post reports (with thanks Lily, Kenneth):

With the Palestinian refugee issue one of the core issues expected to be at the center of the US’s new diplomatic push, the foreign ministry is actively engaged in an effort to ensure that Jewish refuges who fled Arab lands are not forgotten.

Deputy Foreign Ministry Danny Ayalon, who is leading the push to include Jewish refugees in the core issue discussion with the US about refugees, said “it is vitally important to return this issue to the international agenda. It is a matter of justice, closure and righting a wrong.”

Ayalon, whose father came to Israel after being forced out of Algeria, said this issue has “a practical as well as a moral aspect. The demands from the two sides are asymmetrical, the Palestinians talk of rights and justice [for Palestinian refugees], yet the rights and justice of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands have been ignored and suppressed for too long. ”

In an article Ayalon wrote in September in The Jerusalem Post entitled “I am a refugee,” Ayalon said that while some 750,000 Arabs fled or left Mandatory Palestine, there were some 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands.

“We are going to make an effort now to bring to the forefront the plight of the Jews from the Arab countries,” he said.

The foreign ministry, in an effort to place this issue high on the international agenda, has appointed an official to coordinate the matter. He has met over the last few weeks with historical and legal experts, and is preparing a detailed position paper that will be entered into the discussion on the refugee issue.

“We will make sure that this will be an important and integral part of the negotiations for a final settlement,” Ayalon said. “Just as the Arab refugees is an issue, so is the Jewish refugees.”

The Foreign Ministry recently sent a cable to all Israel’s representations abroad calling on the country’s envoys to bring the issue up with the leadership in the capitals where they are serving.

Diplomatic officials said the reason for raising the issue is not necessarily to receive compensation for the Jews who left the Arab countries, though this could be a factor when the Palestinians demand reparations from Israel for Palestinian refugees, but rather to seek redress, and an acknowledgement by the world that in 1948 there was not only a Palestinian refugee issue, but a second one, involving Jews who – unlike the Palestinians – were fully absorbed.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made clear that the core issues he believes should be addressed first in the indirect talks being conducted by the US are refugees, recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and security. The Palestinians, however want to focus first on borders and Jerusalem.

Read article in full

*Contrast with opposition leader Tsipi Livni whosaid ‘the two-state solution dictates that Israel is a home for Jewish refugees from Europe while the Arab countries and the Palestinian state find a solution for the Palestinian refugee problem’ (Ynet News)


  • I see your point, Suzy, how do you explain this gaffe by the leader of the Opposition party? If it was not a slip of the tongue, then it shows worrying ignorance.

  • Thanks for the Hebrew translation. Eliyahu.

    I guess I was too charitable, trying to give Livni the benefit of the doubt.

  • Here is the Hebrew original of the ynet article quoting Little Miss Tsipi Livni, who has about as much brains as Little Bo Peep:

    על פיתרון בעיית הפליטים וההכרה הפלסטינית בישראל כמדינה יהודית, אמרה יו"ר האופוזיציה כי "הפיתרון של שתי מדינות הוא שישראל תהיה בית לפליטים היהודים מאירופה והמדינות הערביות והמדינה הפלסטינית ייתנו את הפיתרון לבעיית הפליטים הפלסטינים".

    This is the Hebrew original of the article quoting Miss Tsipi Livni. This shows that she did say what the English translation in ynet quoted [my translation follows]: "The two-state solution is that Israel will be the home for Jewish refugees from Europe, and the Arab states and the Palestinian state will provide the solution for the problem of the Palestinian refugees." The translation into English on ynet is correct.

    Tsipi confirms her stupidity once again. The problem is that now obama and hilary are trying to use her to overthrow Netanyahu.

  • I wondered if Livni's remark was mistranslated from the Hebrew, and perhaps she said 'Refugees from Europe and the Arab countries', but even she had she would still be refusing to make a separate issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

  • I noted Tsipi Livni's remark. Her stupidity is really abysmal.

    She is now taking a "left-wing" position on the Arabs. She and Kadima will do and say anything to get back in power.

  • Great news.
    I hope that the Jews from arab countries who live outside Israel will not be forgotten despite being a minority as the majority are settled in Isarel.


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