Monday, November 30, 2015
Commemorating Jewish refugees in Oz
Today, 30 November, Jewish organisations around the world are preparing to commemorate the exodus of almost a million Jews from Arab countries. The Australian Board of Deputies are holding a commemorative event at the Sydney Jewish Museum. Article in the Australian Jewish News:
MAURICE Cohen’s family was expelled from Cairo in 1957. “We were expelled with nothing – we left with little possessions, no money, no nothing.”
Cohen is one of around 800,000 Jews whose families had lived in Arab lands for centuries, that were expelled from their countries in the years leading up to and following the establishment of the State of Israel. While the Palestinian refugee issue remains a hot global topic, history has largely forgotten these Jewish refugees. Article in the Australian Jewish News:
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) hopes to address that deficiency, locally at least, with an inaugural annual event recognising the plight of these refugees and the contribution of those who settled in Australia to the local community.
“The 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands and Iran are too often omitted from the narrative of the events of 1948,” JBOD CEO Vic Alhadeff told The AJN.
“This event is an important step in restoring this highly significant chapter of our history to its rightful place. Knowledge of the Jewish refugee story is essential to understanding the historical context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Added Cohen: “Middle Eastern Jewry were really a rich culture, a dynamic religious group.
“The issue of these Jews has never really been at the forefront; it’s taken a while, but I commend the fact. It’s a wonderful idea.”
Read article in full
Gila Gamliel, social equality minister who is spearheading the official commemoration of the Jewish refugees today, 30 November, has proposed offering a Prime Minister's Award to researchers and academia on research in the field of Jewish heritage from Arab countries and Iran. Prime minister Netanyahu has called for instruction in schools and universities on Mizrahi heritage be expanded.
Read article in full (Hebrew) - with thanks Eliyahu)