Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A spike in news on the Jewish refugees

The Jewish refugees are finally in the news. Honest Reporting's blog, Backspin, has this summary of recent developments, complete with useful background articles and a generous 'plug' for this blog:

The plight of Jewish refugees from Arab countries has largely been off the world's radar. Pogroms, discriminatory laws and expulsions that hit Jews living in Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria and Lebanon have raised scant media interest over the years. But in recent days, there's been an interesting spike of noteworthy developments and commentary.

Libya: Dictator Muammar Gaddafi wants to meet with Jews of Libyan descent now living in Rome during a trip to Italy this week. According to YNet News, the Libyan Jews are interested in restitution for lost property, but are wary that Gaddafi wants the meeting more for propaganda than for reconciliation.

The meeting appears to be a non-starter for another reason: Gadaffi wants it scheduled during the Sabbath.

Background reading: The Final Exodus of the Libyan Jews in 1967


Yemen: The dramatic Operation Magic Carpet of 1949 didn't close the chapter on Yemen's Jewish long-suffering community, which dates back to Biblical times. But last year's murder of Rabbi Moshe al-Nahari (pictured) appears to be the final straw. Lyn Julius notes the quiet exodus of Yemenite Jewry:

Jews, tribal sheikhs, rights activists and lawyers all concur that harassment has reached an all-time high. After al-Nahari's murder, the Jews were besieged in their own homes and petrol bombs lobbed at them. Moshe's brother, rabbi Yahia Ya'ish, appealed to the government: "protect or deport us". . . .

The lesson one draws from the final exodus of the Jews of Yemen is that the Arab world does not even tolerate non-Zionist Jews. There can be no future for the pitiful remnant in Arab lands if their safety cannot be guaranteed.

According to the Yemen Observer, there are no more than 380 Jews left in the country all of whom are expected to be relocated to the US or Israel.

Background reading: The Jews of Yemen

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