As the United Nations urges countries to do more to help refugees – and castigates countries that create the refugees who are unable to live in their home countries – on World Refugee Day, commemorated Thursday, MK Shimon Ohayon (Yisrael Beytenu) had a message for the UN: Don't forget the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, far more numerous than the much-worried over Arab refugees who fled the Land of Israel before Israel's establishment in 1948.
While those Arabs for the most part left their homes voluntarily, on the recommendation of Egypt, Transjordan (now Jordan(, Syria and the other four Arab countries that declared war on the nascent state – in order to “clear a path” for the “victorious Arab armies” as they “slaughtered the Jews” - the Jewish refugees from Arab countries were thrown out of the countries they and their families had lived in for hundreds of years, just for the crime of being Jewish, and thus suspected Zionists.
Speaking Thursday, Ohayon said that “the Jews of Arab countries, starting in 1947, were used as weapons by the Arab League against the establishment of the Jewish State. The Arab League drafted laws for its member states to withdraw civil and human rights from its Jewish inhabitants and it is time for it to own up to its role in the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population from most of the Middle East and North Africa.”
In 1947, the Political Committee of the Arab League drafted a law that was to govern the legal status of Jewish residents in all Arab League countries. Entitled: Text of Law Drafted by the Political Committee of the Arab League, the law called for the freezing of bank accounts of Jews, their internment and their assets confiscated. Various other discriminatory measures were taken by Arab nations and subsequent meetings reportedly called for the expulsion of Jews from member states of the Arab League.
“It is time for the Arab League, not just to make diktats for a resolution to the conflict, but also accept their great responsibility for driving out almost a million Jews from lands which they had lived in for millennia,” MK Ohayon continued. “I call on the Arab League not just to take responsibility but also to provide redress to the Jewish refugees.
“This is a matter of justice and rights and has been ignored by the Arab League and the international community for too long. It is time to place the rights of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands at the forefront of the push for peace and reconciliation in our region.”
MK Ohayon, who along with his family fled Morocco in 1956, is the Chairman of the Knesset Caucus for the Rights of Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands and has drafted a law to hold an annual day to commemorate the Jewish refugees in the Israeli calendar.