Tuesday, December 01, 2015

In our major Nakba, we are alone

In the plethora of articles published on 30 November, Dr Edy Cohen's piece for YNet News stands out for pointing out that for years advocates for Jewish refugees from Arab countries have been struggling alone and without funding. It is only in the last year that they have received official backing from the Israeli government.

 (Left)Young Jewess. (Above) Jewish girl from Beirut: (British library, Fuad Debbas collection)The photos come from the Bonfils collection (with thanks: Eliyahu)

 Most of you will be surprised by this, but we Jews have a Nakba too, and it's a major Nakba. It's a Nakba which is marked on November 30, when we commemorate the expulsion and uprooting of about one million Jews during the 20th century from their homeland in the Arab and Muslim world. Thousands of years of Jewish presence in those countries, even before the era of Islam, had come to an end.

 Unfortunately, our Nakba is private, as it has no international or even national support, it has no Israeli and foreign organizations which recognize it and work to raise Israeli and international awareness of its existence. It has no organizations to support it, write about it, interview us, photograph us, write scientific articles about us, the refugees who came from Arab countries.

 More than 700,000 Jews fled from Arab countries by the mid 1960s, most of them immigrating to Israel. The property they left behind is estimated at billions of dollars, but the disintegration process most of these countries are going through doesn’t leave Mizrahi Jews much hope for compensation. We have no funding and budgets like the Europeans and Americans and other Arab states funnel to the refugees of the Palestinian Nakba, we have no cultural institutions to give us the stage at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque or anywhere else, and above all - we have no media outlets to report about our activity and the suffering we experienced.

In our Nakba, we are alone. We have not only lost our property, which was left behind in Arab countries and is estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars today, but our rich culture and heritage as well. The culture and heritage of more than 50 percent of the State of Israel's Jewish residents.

Read article in full

Israel marks exodus of Jews from Arab countries (Times of Israel)  

Our day to remember Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands by Michelle Huberman (Jewish News)

Make 2016 the Year of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries by Ashley Perry (Times of Israel)

Article in i24 News

Haaretz article by Ofer Aderet
 Panel from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs exhibition conceived by Ashley Perry  and Akiva Tor. If  you have a suitable UK venue for this travelling exhibiton please contact info@harif.org

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