Israel to grant research prize on Jews from Arab lands

Social Equality
Minister Gila Gamliel announced on Sunday the launching of an annual
NIS 150,000 prize for research into the history of Jews in Arab lands
and Iran. The Jerusalem Post reports (with thanks: Lily): 


Gila Gamliel: half Yemenite, half-Libyan

Gamliel, whose father is from Yemen and whose mother
was born in Libya, said the prize will contribute to promoting the
history of the Jews in Arab lands that has for too long been pushed to
the side of the Zionist conversation.

“The story of the Jewish people is massive and has many
layers, and the entire Israeli public should be exposed to it,” she
said. “Preserving our heritage is our national expertise and the secret
of our survival as a people.”

Gamliel thanked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for
being responsive and understanding that “it is our responsibility to
foster an understanding of our complete national heritage – the story
of the East [Sephardi Jewry], and the story of the West [Ashkenazi
Jewry].”

Netanyahu said providing support for researching the
history of the Jews of the Arab countries and Iran is an important
step, and one needed to “fill in the gaps.” He said the decision has
“important implications” both for Israeli society and academia.

The
prize will be bestowed annually on November 30, the day which – under a
2014 law – will be marked each year as the national day of
commemoration for the 850,000 Jewish refugees displaced from Iran and
Arab countries in the 20th century.

This day was selected
because it immediately follows November 29, when the UN adopted the
partition plan in 1947 and many Jews in Arab countries felt the need to
flee their home countries.

In
addition, Gamliel’s ministry will allocate an additional NIS 100,000
for 150 medals to be bestowed on people and organizations who have
contributed to furthering an understanding of the heritage of Jews from
the Arab countries and Iran, and who have worked to ensure that their
rights to compensation as refugees will be recognized.

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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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