MK Uri Orbach
MK Uri Orbach Israel news photo: Flash 90

MK Uri Orbach (Jewish Home), who is also Minister for Senior Citizens, expressed satisfaction at reports that the negotiation framework to be proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry included compensation for Jews from Arab countries who were forced to leave their homes after the establishment of Israel.

However, he said, Israelis needed to be wary – because it was most likely a tactic by Kerry to drum up support for what promises to be a very unpopular proposal.

According to reports, U.S. envoy Martin Indyk told American Jewish leaders that the compensation component would be part of the proposal, matching compensation to be allocated to the descendants of Arabs who fled Israel when the state was established.

“There is no more just compensation demand that the one by Jews who emigrated from Arab countries,” Orbach wrote on his Facebook page. “Many were forced to leave their homes in the early 1950s after ongoing harassment and persecution,” he wrote, adding that his own Ministry had recently embarked on a project to categorize and list the lost property.

However, he said, caution was needed. “The compensation component, justified as it is, was thrown into the agreement to convince Israelis to accept the proposal, as if to say that the more territory we give up, the greater the compensation.

“We must remember that Jews, unlike the Palestinians, did not threaten the existence of their homelands or anyone else,” Orbach wrote. “They did not declare war on Iraq, Yemen, or Egypt. They left with nothing because of pressure and danger. They must go on demanding their rights, not as a way to prevent or encourage a diplomatic agreement, but because it is a matter of justice.”