Sunday, July 21, 2013

Knesset bill passes first reading unanimously

 Point of No Return exclusive

 Shimon Ohayon, MK

The Knesset bill designating a day to remember the Jewish refugees driven from Arab lands passed its first reading on 17 July.

Ahmed Tibi (Raam Ta'al party) objected to the bill, claiming that Jews had not left Arab countries as refugees but of 'their own free will.'

However, Tibi did not cast his vote against the bill. It passed unanimously.

The earliest version of the bill set the date for commemoration to 30 November, the day after the 1947 vote in the UN General Assembly approving the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab one. It was on the following day [after the partition vote] that Arab states initiated attacks on the Jewish communities in their countries as part of their effort to prevent the establishment of the Jewish state.

According to a spokesperson for Yisrael Beytenu, the date will be changed to February 17 in future versions, the date of an Arab League call on member states to impose restrictions on the lives, property and legal status of Jews.

The bill's sponsor, Shimon Ohayon MK, wrote to the Arab League general secretary calling on the League to admit its historic responsibility for the plight of the Jewish refugees.

The bill stipulates that a special Knesset session must be devoted to the issue, along with activities in schools and in Israeli embassies and consulates abroad.

Refugee Day gets government support 

Israel to honour Jewish refugees

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