Refugee events draw an ever larger crowd

With the Israeli government, Jewish organisations and synagogues around the worldwide preparing to observe 30 November, the annual day to remember the exodus of Jewish refugees from Arab lands, in this column reproduced from the Detroit Jewish News  Barbara Moretsky of StandWithUs tells us that there is ever more interest in what Jews in Detroit are planning, not just this month, but throughout 2016: (With thanks: Michelle)

 Yemenite Jews being airlifted to Israel in 1949

In less than 30 years, following recognition of Israel’s
statehood on May 14, 1948, nearly three-fourths of Sephardi and Mizrahi
refugees chose  Israel as their
destination. For some, the Detroit area eventually became their home,
where a portion adopted West Bloomfield’s Keter 
Torah Synagogue as their spiritual home. 


The
refugees’ connection to Israel is explored in the StandWithUs
publication “Jewish Refugees of the Middle East: An Unresolved Human
Rights Issue” (www.standwithus.com/booklets/JewishRefugees). For Jews forced to flee Arab-Muslim lands, justice for their suffering remains unresolved. These
Jewish refugees have had “no right of return,*” while we constantly hear
it as an entitlement for the 1948 transfer of Palestinian refugees.

Mizrahi
and Sephardi refugees received no compensation for their confiscated
homes, furnishings, businesses and bank accounts altogether valued at many billions of dollars. Arab nations claimed these treasures as Jews abandoned everything to escape persecution. 

By
remembering their plight, we can undermine a prevalent anti-Israel lie:
“If Jews would just go back to post-Holocaust Europe, there would be no
need for a Jewish state and Arab Palestinians could return to their land!”


Our
Arab-Muslim enemies conveniently ignore 3,000 years of Jewish history
in the Land of Israel. They ignore the Mizrahi Jews who never left the promised land and others who were reclaiming it when the U.N. General Assembly approved the Palestine mandate on Nov. 29, 1947.


To
mark this historic vote, the June 2014 Knesset resolution designates
Nov. 30 as the annual date to remember the plight of the “forgotten
refugees.” In Israel today, more than half of the Jewish population is of Mizrahi/Sephardi ancestry.

Generally,
there appeared to be a lack of local interest in educating about the
plight and heritage of these survivors. To expose the heritage of local
Mizrahi and Sephardi families,
the first in a series of “Different Cultures, Different Foods” programs
was presented on Nov. 2, 2014, at Keter Torah Synagogue. It featured 
the
narrative of a family from Iraq and its struggle to reach Israel, along
with a tasting of Jewish Iraqi foods.  As community interest in the
education 
series expanded, the synagogue’s lobby couldn’t accommodate the crowds and necessitated a move to its much larger lower level.


In
December 2014, the first commemoration ceremony drew a crowd. This
year, more than twice the number of organizations are partnering to
present the second annual remembrance event scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14.

Read article in full

*The Jewish refugees do not want a right of return. The Arab states remain as hostile as the day they left.

4 Comments

  • why not contact Israel channel 1. They showed it and ought to know who made it. Levana Zamir might know.

    Reply
  • There are few countries in Europe that are fit for Jews to live in, and none in the Middle East other than Israel. There are no countries in the Middle East apart from Israel that an Arab can live in as a free person.

    Reply
  • By remembering their plight, we can undermine a prevalent anti-Israel lie: “If Jews would just go back to post-Holocaust Europe, there would be no need for a Jewish state and Arab Palestinians could return to their land!”

    This paragraph seems to indicate that Jews whose families came from places like Poland or Germany or Ukraine could go back to those places. That is one of the arguments habitually made by Arab and PLO partisans, including arafat and more recently Helen Thomas. But this argument is actually cynical and cruel. Could Jews really go back to those countries in any appreciable numbers? Would the non-Jewish population be welcoming? Not likely. And arafat and other Arab spokesmen probably understood this long ago but it sounded like a cute argument to them.

    On a related subject, last night Israel TV showed a documentary on the mainly Jewish underground in Algiers in 1942 that basically handed the city of Algiers over to the US & its allies without Allied loss of life.

    Reply

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This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, of the Middle East and North Africa, documenting the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution.

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Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries

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