Israel schools to mark Jewish Refugee Day on 30 November

Israel’s schools will hold a memorial day
this year to commemorate the departure and expulsion of Jews from Arab
countries and Iran, the Education Ministry has announced. (This is one of the recommendations of theBiton Report.) The Jerusalem Post reports (with thanks: Lily):


(Left: Erez Biton. Right: minister Naphtali Bennett)

On
November 30 schools and kindergartens throughout the country will mark
the day with memorial ceremonies, reading books, singing songs and
holding discussions on the immigrant absorption experience.

The ministry thus aims to implement one of the July
recommendations of the Biton Committee, which was tasked with
empowering Eastern Jewish cultural studies within the general education
curriculum.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett launched the committee
some five months ago, and appointed as its head Erez Biton, the first
poet of Mizrahi descent to win the Israel Prize in Literature (2015).

Biton
was tasked with strengthening the identity of the Mizrahi Jewish
community – including immigrants from Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia and
Libya – within the education system.

“From today the children of
Israel will learn the story of the Egoz ship [which sank in 1961 during
its 13th voyage bringing Jews from Morocco to make aliya, with the
loss of 46 lives, including 44 immigrants] and the story of the
incredible Zionist journey of Mizrahi Jews,” Bennett said.

“The
day of departure and expulsion is a milestone in completing the whole
story of the glorious heritage of Jews from Arab countries,” he said.

As part of
the commemoration, students will meet with “perpetuators of Mizrahi and
Sephardic Jewish heritage,” past immigrants from countries such as
Morocco, Iraq, Iran and Algeria, who will recount their personal
stories of expulsion from their homes. The students will also learn of
their Mizrahi culture and heritage, as well as their immigration and
absorption experiences.

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