Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Sephardi leaders' mission to Ramallah: the real story
Levana Zamir addresses Mahmoud Abbas, urging him to begin peace talks without pre-conditions
Following media reports headlined "Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands go to Ramallah to meet Mahmoud Abbas", here is a short report by Levana Zamir, head of the umbrella organisation representing Jews from Arab countries in Israel. Zamir was one of the Sephardi leaders present:
"This very important meeting of 70 Israeli representatives of Israelis from Arab Countries, is only the beginning of a new kind of "negotiation with the Palestinians" where our 'Ashkenazi' government (sorry for this quote) failed until now.
"We got a special letter from our Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu asking us to go. He reminded us of the time a few years ago, when Netanyahu finally appointed a Jew from Egypt - David Meidan-Mosseri - to negotiate the release of Gilad Shalit. He succeeded, after many years of failure, sadly, by 'Ashkenazi' representatives. Only organizations from Arab Countries who wanted to go would be part of this very important Mission to Ramallah - and all of them were there.
"For the first time ever, this important turning point in Israeli history - led by Jews from Arab countries - was fully covered by the TV News, radio and newspapers. Not that we are sure it will bring peace soon, but it is our duty to try.
" Next week, we are going to have a special General Assembly of Jews from Egypt - in our Cultural Center of Egyptian Jewry in Tel Aviv - to decide whether to issue an invitation of a Palestinian Mission to our Center in Tel Aviv, to discuss with them how they should stop the incitement and terror as the first thing to talk about. We as Sephardi Jews, always wished to be part of those "negotiations" led so badly by people like Tzipi Livni or MK Hilik Bar, Vice-chair of the Knesset.
In his recent working paper presented at Harvard University-Boston, MK Hilik Bar said again that Jews from Arab countries should present their claims to the Arab countries, and only Palestinians should get compensation from the International Fund. Our Coalition Board, of Jews from arab countries Organisations, is going to meet with MK Hilik Bar soon after Pesah, to tell him how wrong he is."