With thanks: Iraqijews
Saleh al-Qallab, writing in the London-based Arabic newspaper Sharq-al-Awsat, says a peace settlement should honour the right of Jews to return to Arab countries and receive compensation for their property, as it should for Palestinians to return to their homes in Israel and get compensation, in accordance with UN resolution 194.
Al-Qallab claims that Iraqi Jews would reintegrate easily into Iraq because they had been living there since the Babylonian exile and had taken a full part in the rebirth of the country. They do not harbour hatred of Arabs or Palestinians. Moreover they are not as resentful as Moroccan or Yemeni Jews.
He claims that some Iraqi Jews have thought 'seriously to return'. He cites the example of Moshe Shahal, a former Israeli MK and minister of Police in Yitzhak Rabin's government. Shahal had changed his name from Fattal; a branch of the Fattal family had prospered in London. Shahal had remained faithful to his Iraqi heritage, teaching his children Arabic. His mother cooked the Arabic dish pacha for the whole family.
Shahal had apparently asked Hosni Mubarak, on his becoming Egyptian president, to arrange for him to return to Saddam's Iraq and claim his property back. He was shocked to be told that he could. But Saddam retracted his promise.
The article concludes that there are encouraging grounds to believe that Iraqi jews from Iraqi Kurdistan might seriously consider returning to Iraq, and some of them will actually do so if granted the necessary security guarantees.
Read article in full (Google translation from Arabic)
Summary in JCPA piece (Hebrew)
Point of No Return comments: Al-Qallab is to be commended for raising the issue of Jews from Arab countries, but is unrealistic to call for an exchange 'right of return' 60 years after the event. The descendants of Jews from Arab countries are now Hebrew-, English- or French- speaking Jews fully integrated in Israel and the West. Moreover, Arab countries are far from guaranteeing physical security and equal rights for returning Jews, when they cannot even guarantee them for fellow Muslims or Christians.
OK, say I - for every Jew returning to an Arab country let one Palestinian return to Israel - and see how many take up the offer.
Na-Na-Nahman from Iraq (with thanks: Iraqijews)
Yediot Aharonot (Musaf shel shabbat) of 22 August carries the curious revelation that the Hassidim of Breslav (Ukraine), who revere Rabbi Nahman from Uman, are planning to make group visits from Israel to tombs of Jewish Prophets and Sages in Iraq. According to the article, Haifa University and the Babylonian Jewish Center at Or Yehuda has started training tour guides to accompany the groups. No online link available.