Israel Honors Expulsion of Jews From Arab Lands

Israel marks first annual day of remembrance for Jews who fled or were deported from Arab countries.

Cynthia Blank,

Jewish refugees
Jewish refugees
Israel news screenshot: Foreign Ministry

Sunday, on November, 30, Israel marked the first annual national day of remembrance for the hundreds of thousands of Jews displaced from Arab countries through the course of the 20th century. 

In June, the Knesset adopted the Exit and Deportation of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran Law designating November 30 as the national day of commemoration for the 850,000 Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries and Iran. 

The official commemoration falls just a day after the anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly's vote for the partition plan for the Palestine Mandate which created the independent Jewish state of Israel. 

The creation of the state of Israel is considered the major contributing factor to the displacement of most Jews from Arab countries. 

“Today, for the first time, we are marking the exit and deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries and from Iran in the years following the establishment of the State of Israel,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement released Sunday.

“It is not for nothing that this day is marked on the day after the 29th of November. The Arab countries, which never accepted the UN declaration on the establishment of a Jewish state, compelled the Jews living in their territories to leave their homes while leaving their assets behind,” he said.

“In several instances the deportations were accompanied by pogroms and violence against Jews. We have acted – and will continue to act – so that they and their claims are not forgotten.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also addressed the commemoration during an event marking the day at his official residence. 

"The voice of Jews from Arab countries and Iran must be heard within the education system, in the media, in the arts, and in the country’s official institutions, as it needs to be heard in the internationally arena as well, in order to mend the historical injustice, and to ensure financial reparations."

Rivlin continued, "We have come together today to make amends for an historical injustice, against a million Jews, immigrants from Arab countries and Iran, whose stories were pushed to the margins of the Zionist narrative. 

"Indeed, this comes too late, on too small a scale, and no longer has an impact on the public consciousness.  And yet still, it is important to seek the correction, which should not be underestimated."

"This is the nature of healing consciousness, it has the power to dissolve the residue, change the future, and establish a new consciousness, which will illuminate the past with the light of historic justice."




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