"Forgotten Refugees" Premiers

Film of destruction of ancient Jewish communities in Arab countries will be screened on Monday, followed by Q&A with the producers & partici

Hillel Fendel ,

A movie documenting the destruction of ancient Jewish communities in the Middle East will be screened Monday night in Tel Aviv, followed by a Question-and-Answer session with the producers and participants.

How is it that the Jewish population in Arab countries dwindled from 1,000,000 people in 1945 to only a few thousand today? The movie tries to answer this question, featuring scholarly analyses, personal testimonies, film clips and pictures of rescue operations and re-settlement, and more.

Jewish refugees from Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, Libya and Iraq tell their stories, interspersed with chapters on the rich contribution of Jews to Middle Eastern politics, business and music.

“The Forgotten Refugees” chronicles the impact of the Arab Muslim conquest, the development of Judeo-Arab culture, and the modern rise of Arab nationalism that drove out hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes and communities. The movie attempts to present a unique educational approach regarding an important but little-known aspect of Middle Eastern history.

More Jewish Refugees, Less Aid
International economist Sidney Zabludoff published research several months ago showing that the Jewish refugees of the late 1940’s suffered more and have been helped less than their Arab counterparts. He said that many more Jews were forcibly displaced or expelled from their homes around the world than Arabs, that they lost significantly more property, and were helped over the years to a much smaller extent.

The Shas Party recently declared that it would demand restitution for the hundreds of thousands of Jews forced to flee Arab and Muslim states. There can be no peace with Arab countries without compensation for Jews' lost property, said Shas Cabinet Minister Yitzchak Cohen.

Movie Receives International Acclaim
The 50-minute film, directed by Michael Grynszpan and produced by Ralph Avi Goldwasser, was recently shown in the United Nations and in the U.S. Congress. It won the Best Documentary award at last year’s Marbella Film Festival in Marbella, Spain.

The Q-&-A session will following the movie’s screening at the Tel Aviv Cinematek Theater on Monday evening at 7:00 p.m.