Shimon Ohayon, MK, proponent of the bill
The proposal for an official date in the calendar commemorating Jewish refugees from Arab countries overcame its first hurdle today with its endorsement by a ministerial committee, indicating Israeli government support. Government support is vital to ease the bill's passage into law. Text of a press release:
Sunday, July 14, 2013) – Today, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation endorsed a law to hold an official date in the Israeli national calendar to commemorate the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. The law, authored by Member of Knesset Dr. Shimon Ohayon (Yisrael Beytenu), will state that February 17th is to become a day of national commemoration for the over 850,000 Jews who were forced out or who fled their homes in Arab countries during the middle of the last century.
February 17th was chosen because it was the date in 1948 when the Arab League approved a law for its member states placing severe sanctions against their Jewish populations.
Accordingly, MK Ohayon sent an official letter today to Secretary General of the Arab League Dr. Nabil El Araby calling on his organization to “accept historic accountability for the humiliation, the suffering, and the losses incurred by innocent Jewish victims of the Arab world’s declared war against the State of Israel.”
“As a matter of law and equity, the Arab League must assume full responsibility for ensuring rights and redress for Jewish refugees, the direct result of their collusionary actions,” MK Ohayon wrote in a letter also sent to the Arab League’s Human Rights Department.
“There are historic processes taking place in the Arab world currently with more and more people pushing for their rights, this is an opportune time for the Arab League and its member states to admit to the historic injustice meted out to their Jewish populations,” MK Ohayon said. “This is an important element of any future peace and reconciliation between Jews and Arab in the Middle East.”
The law and the letter are part of a concerted campaign to have the rights of the Jews who were forced out of Arab countries in the twentieth century recognized in Israel, the Arab world and the international community.
The day of commemoration for the Jewish refugees was accepted and endorsed by the representative organizations of Jews from Arab countries in Israel and international organizations like Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) and the World Jewish Congress, who will push the day of commemoration in Jewish communities around the world.
Times of Israel article (with thanks: Tom)
Arutz Sheva article