Monday, October 08, 2012
"We came penniless to Israel from Damascus"
It is time to recognize the suffering of Jewish refugees pushed from Arab lands 65 years ago when the state of Israel was founded, Israeli journalist Shalom Yerushalmi told Newsmax TV.
His comments are part of a campaign launched by Israel calling for justice for those Jews displaced from Arab countries. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Israel's United Nations Ambassador Ron Prosor kicked off the campaign this month, hosting a U.N. Summit on Jewish Refugees.
Yerushalmi noted in the interview that his father came from Turkey and his mother from Damascus and suffered years of discrimination.
“They didn’t want to leave Damascus until the state of Israel was declared,” he said. “And they were forced to do so and they came to Israel penniless. They came by donkey and they came on horseback, riding day and night, they came to Israel. They are Jewish refugees. They are Jewish refugees because we left our home in Damascus.
"My grandmother had the key of the home, of this house, until she died. She kept this key with her. We gave up everything. We gave up the house, we gave up the splendid synagogue, we gave up the land and we came, my family came here with, as I told you, penniless. That’s why we are refugees and we are not alone. Hundreds of thousands of families came to Israel in this way and we just wanted justice for them.”
Yerushalmi argued that it is not too late to bring justice to the situation and called for the creation of an international fund to compensate refugees. “Look, the Palestinian refugees want money; they want the international community to compensate them. We want the same,” he said.
But it's not that easy. Palestinians see the program as an attempt to equate Israeli refugees with that of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who have lost homes in Israel. The campaign insists that both cases are part of the same core issue that must be addressed by any future peace talks.
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