Israel is to gather all the data held in government archives concerning the properties lost by Jews in Arab countries with a view to backing legal claims, reports Ynet News. The article estimates the losses at $150 billion but they could be much greater. The announcement, by the Social Equality minister Merav Cohen, comes as an assessment of lost Jewish property and assets undertaken by a leading accountancy firm based in Arab countries nears completion.
The government will authorize the Ministry of Social Equality to collect information from the archives of government ministries, regarding the rights of those immigrants from Arab countries. Thus, the ministry hopes, they will be able to help them establish future lawsuits against the countries from which they were deported, where they left their property.
The Ministry of Social Equality has been working on the issue of Jewish property remaining in Arab and Iranian countries for years. In 2010, a law was enacted on the subject in order to protect the rights of immigrants. Now that they have access to the archives, the ministry believes that the materials they will find there will help their research as well as, as mentioned, actual claims that will be filed in the future.
The representatives who will enter the state archives will examine various documents, including those deposited there by the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Health, Education and more. The materials will not be photographed or removed from the archive, and reading will be done only to examine the data that will lead the people of the Ministry of Social Equality to reach their goal.
“This proposal emphasizes the commitment and concern of the State of Israel to document the deportation of Jews from Arab countries and Iran and the dispossession of their property,” said Minister of Social Equality Meirav Cohen. “The purpose of the decision is to document the history of the damage caused to Jews who were expelled from their homes and left a lot of property behind.
Cohen emphasized that as a state, “we have a commitment to learn and teach the price paid by the Jews of Arab countries, a tremendous economic price that we do not always understand. This decision will help us to document in depth historically the story of the Jews of Arab countries.”
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