Al-Arabiya reporter interviews Malia Bouzaid
It is 47 years since Algeria's Jewish community left en masse for France, but Algeria should 'learn from the experience of Tunisia, Morocco and Yemen' and give them back their citizenship, a human rights activist told Al-Arabiya recently. (Of course only those Jews loyal to Algeria - and certainly no Zionists - would be allowed back.) One wonders what planet this lady lives on, given that the last of Yemen's Jews are being driven out, but perhaps she understands that minority rights are the best guarantee of a healthy civil society: (with thanks: Heather)
A prominent Algerian human rights activist called on the government to acknowledge the rights of Jews of Algerian origin and said such people should be naturalized as she stressed there was a difference between being Jewish and being a Zionist.
Malia Bouzaid, a member of the Arab Commission for Human Rights, launched a campaign to grant Algerian Jews living abroad citizenship as she believed they were suffering greatly because they were deprived from returning to their homeland. Algerian Jews meet all the conditions to become citizens...Most of their fathers or grandfathers were born in Algeria. Many of them were born to Algerian mothers.
"Algerian Jews meet all the conditions to become citizens," Bouzaid told Al Arabiya. "Most of their fathers or grandfathers were born in Algeria. *Many of them were born to Algerian mothers."
Bouzaid said the Jewish issue was very sensitive in Algeria but argued that handling the issue realistically would play a major role in solving many of the problems Algeria has faced for decades.
"What I mean by 'realistically' is learning from the experience of other Arab countries like Tunisia, Morocco and Yemen in the way they preserved their Jewish communities and treated them as citizens," Bouzaid said, adding "'Realistically' also means knowing the difference between Jews and Israel."
Bouzaid stressed that the Jews she met in French cities like Paris, Lyon and Marseille pledged allegiance to Algeria rather than Israel and that given the choice they would love to resettle in Algeria.
When asked about French-Algerian relations, Bouzaid said that 25 percent of the decision makers in France were Jews of Algerian origin and that they have the ability to help their homeland if it were to acknowledge them.
"They might get back at Algeria for denying them citizenship by grabbing every opportunity to weaken it in front of the international community. But if Algeria recognizes them as citizens, they will work for its benefit," she said.
We have to differentiate between Jews who willingly left Algeria after the independence and their hands were not stained with Algerian blood and Jews who took part in killing Algerian people and they are many. ( A lie - ed)
The head of the Algerian National Commission against Zionism and Normalization rejected all calls for the unconditional naturalization of all Algerian Jews and said some of them pledge allegiance to other than Algeria.
"We have to differentiate between Jews who willingly left Algeria after the independence and their hands were not stained with Algerian blood and Jews who took part in killing Algerian people and they are many," Khaled bin Ismail told Al Arabiya.
Ismail cited the example of French-Algerian singer Enrico Macias who was born in the northeastern city of Constantine.
"He was a teacher during the day, but in his leisure time he put on the French military uniform and fought against his fellow Algerians," Ismail said, adding in 1956 Jews were asked to join the Algerian resistance fight against French occupation and none of them responded.
"Algeria does not bestow its citizenship on anyone. Those who want to apply for citizenship have to supply the necessary legal documents," he concluded.
Algerian Jews are those who settled in Algeria during the time of the Ottoman Empire through the French occupation that started in 1830. (A lie - the Algerian Jewish community predates Islam and the Arab conquest: ed)
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* Nationality is passed on by the father