Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Press leak of lost Jewish property study puts value at $150 billion

According to a scoop by Israel Hayom, lost Jewish property in Arab countries could amount to $150 billion. The significant  results of a two-year long evaluation are about to be submitted to Prime Minister Netanyahu by Gila Gamliel, Minister of Social Equality, whose remit covers Jews from Arab countries. This figure is one hundred billion dollars under the estimate publically announced by Gamliel in January 2019 and does not account for current inflation rates. (A rough estimate comes up with a 2019 value of some $1.5 trillion, or about half the GDP of the entire Middle East. ) It is notable that the article does not mention the vast amounts of property and assets lost in Iraq, Morocco and Egypt. (With thanks: Imre, Lily and Michelle)



Gila Gamliel:'righting a historical wrong'

The property valuation pertains to assets left behind by Jews who were expelled or fled Arab nations and Iran in the late 1940s and 1950s. The review was two years in the making and its authors stressed that it is a conservative assessment that does not account for current inflation rates.

 The report sheds light on a particularly tragic chapter in the history of Arab and Iranian Jewry and constitutes the first time that the government has compiled comprehensive data on this issue, whose historical, sociopolitical, and international political ramifications could be highly significant.

 The project has been in the works since 2002 but it wasn't until 2017, when Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel assumed the mantle, that serious progress was made in this investigation.

 Gamliel teamed with the National Security Council, which cast a wide international net with the aim of estimating the scope of lost Jewish property in Arab nations.

 The exact methods used to compile the report remain classified, but a rough breakdown of the figures shows lost Jewish property in Iran is worth some $31.3 billion. Assets in Libya, for example, were pegged at $6.7 billion, followed by Yemen proper ($2.6 billion), its temporary capital of Aden ($700 million), and Syria ($1.4 billion).

 Gamliel is expected to present the findings to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the coming weeks. "We may be able to begin righting a historical wrong, as part of which hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees who have lost their property could regain it, alongside their forgotten place in the historical narrative of the young state that emerged as they became refugees."

 The parameters examined in the report include rural and urban property, businesses' value, loss of income and potential income, and loss of communal property, to name a few.

  Read article in full

No justice for the dispossessed: a tale of two Menashes


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