Jewish refugees waved giant replicas of the keys to their homes in Iraq, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt during an official demonstration held yesterday to coincide with the visit to the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem of Hilary Clinton and Mahmoud Abbas.
Some 20 demonstrators held placards in Hebrew and English with slogans such as the following: "we too have keys"; "The road to peace is compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab countries, as well as Palestinians."
The demonstration was organised by the Association for the Advancement of Compensation to Jewish Refugees, chaired by Azi Nagar. The Association was set up a year ago to persuade the Israeli government to press Iraq and Egypt, and other states at peace with Israel like Morocco, to give Jewish refugees compensation.
Among the Israeli media present was a team from Channel 1 (Israeli television in English and Arabic) MBC of Dubai, the BBC, the Israel Project, Israel radio, and others. Levana Zamir of the International Association of Jews from Egypt drove the point home in several languages that Palestinian refugees should not have a 'right of return' to Israel, but that both Jewish and Arab refugees should receive compensation.
Israeli TV News conducted interviews with the protesters and broadcast them directly after the coverage of the peace talks.
The organisers are delighted with the results, which achieved their goal of raising awareness of Jewish refugees from Arab countries in Israel, the Arab world and internationally. They plan to hold further protests during the peace talks.