Middle East's Jews Were Victims of Ethnic Cleansing

(Jerusalem Post) Liat Collins - I live in an area of Jerusalem's Katamonim neighborhood fondly referred to as the "Kurdish enclave" thanks to the Kurdish and Iraqi Jews who compose the bulk of the local population. Further down the road is a large pocket of Moroccan and Tunisian Jewish families. Anyone who thinks that Israel is some kind of Yiddish-dominated culture planted in the Middle East is in for a surprise. The descendants of Jews from Arab lands now make up more than 50% of the Jewish Israeli population. After the creation of the state in 1948, more than 800,000 Jews were expelled from Arab lands and came to Israel (compared to 711,000 Palestinian refugees). The Arab world took revenge on the Jews living among them with devastating riots and anti-Jewish measures. According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, "259,000 Jews fled from Morocco, 140,000 from Algeria, 100,000 from Tunisia, 75,000 from Egypt, and another 38,000 from Libya....135,000 Jews were exiled from Iraq, 55,000 from Yemen, 34,000 from Turkey, 20,000 from Lebanon and 18,000 from Syria." Jews had first settled in what became Arab lands following the Babylonian conquest of the Kingdom of Judea, more than 2,500 years ago, and their communities predated Islam by 1,000 years. Today, only 4,000 Jews remain in Arab countries. In other words, the Jews are the victims of ethnic cleansing. I recently asked veteran Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi about Jews from Arab lands who had moved to Israel as a result of persecution. Ashrawi responded, "They can't be refugees in their own homeland." She refused to answer how Palestinians could be considered refugees in what she calls the State of Palestine. (But at least she acknowledged Israel as the Jewish homeland.)

2018-11-30 00:00:00

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