At Succot, refugees remember their ingathering

Three refugees from Arab countries –  from Libya, Egypt and Yemen – tell their stories in this Jerusalem Post piece by David Jablinowitz to mark the ‘ingathering of the exiles’. Jablinowitz also interviews Ashley Perry, the architect of the 30 November date of Commemoration of the exodus of Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran.  But the story has yet to reach the national or international agenda, he says: (with thanks: Lily)
Jewish Agency representatives greet Yemenite Jews airlifted to Israel in 1949
The festival of Sukkot marks the journey and wandering of the Jewish people through the desert in Biblical times before arriving in the Land of Israel. Through the centuries, Jews have suffered persecution and endured many periods of wandering, and after nearly two millennia, gathered from the exiles with the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948.
As the new state was taking root, an estimated 850,000 Jews living in Arab countries were being expelled or fled their homes in those countries, says Ashley Perry, CEO of the Heritage Center for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Jewry.
Perry was central in passing a law in the Knesset marking a national day of commemoration – November 30 – for the Jews of MENA.
“The story of the suffering of the Jews driven out of the Middle East and North Africa is one that still needs to be told because it has yet to fully reach the national or international agenda,” he tells The Jerusalem Post. “It is both painful and remarkable and a testament to the tenacity, diversity and indigeneity of the Jewish People in this region,” he adds.
The stories you are about to read are of three individuals who look back on the countries they left at a tender age, as violence sprung up against their families and community, and who then overcame the challenges facing them in their new country, their true home: Israel, to build a new legacy.
“I was five years old when we migrated to Israel – our homeland, the land of milk and honey,” recalls Lydia Bar-Av, who has since had an illustrious career as a renowned Israeli poet and literature teacher after coming to Israel with her family from Libya ”in the blessed year 1950.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


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.

Point of No Return

Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries

One-stop blog on the Middle East's
forgotten Jewish refugees - updated daily.