Point of No Return exclusive (with thanks: Levana)
The Israeli Knesset is expected to confirm 30 November as the Memorial Day for Jewish refugees from Arab countries.
Moroccan-born MK Shimon Ohayon (pictured) this week tabled a bill stipulating the Memorial Day as part of “the Rights of Jewish Refugees who were uprooted, expelled or fled from Arab countries with the establishment of the state of Israel or in the wake of it.”
The date chosen, 30 November, is the day after 29 November 1947, which marks the passing of UN Resolution 181 on the Partition of Palestine.
The subsequent furore in the Arab world that year led to antisemiticunrest in Egypt and Libya, and pogroms in Syria, Aden and Bahrain. November was traditionally a notorious monthfor anti-Jewish disturbances in Arab countries coinciding with the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
The Israeli Ministry for Tourism will be responsible for the observance of Memorial Day, working together with the Ministries for Education, Culture and Sport. The Israeli Foreign ministry will also be expected to organise special events outside Israel. If 30 November falls on a Friday or Saturday, the Day will be observed at the start of the following week.
Although the idea of a Memorial Day has long been in the pipeline, it was heavily promoted by Danny Ayalon, deputy foreign minister in the last government.
Shimon Ohayon is a new arrival in the Knesset, where he represents Yisrael Beytenu. Next week he is due to meet representatives of the organisations of Jews from Arab countries as well as Sam Grundwerg, Director of the World Jewish Congress in Israel and Edna Weinstock-Gabay, Director of Global Strategic Initiatives.
The meeting will lay the groundwork for a cross-party group to promote awareness in the Knesset of Jewish refugees from Arab Countries.