Our Nakba

(Maariv-Hebrew, 1Feb12) Zvi Gabay - At the end of January every year, a humble memorial service is held at the Babel Judaism Heritage Center in Or Yehuda, in memory of the Martyrs of Iraq - 80 Iraqi Jews who since the establishment of the State of Israel were executed by hanging, died in torture or while escaping to Israel. Jews have experienced similar difficult tragedies in other Arab countries. In Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, and Egypt - after the establishment of the Jewish state - Jews lost their lives in retaliation for Israel's victories over Arab armies in the battlefield. On the eve of the establishment of the State of Israel, there was a horrifying anti-Jewish atmosphere in all Arab countries, accompanied by inflammatory anti-Jewish declarations, including from the podium of the United Nations. The Jews were forced to flee and emigrate from every Arab country, while leaving behind all their personal and communal possessions. From a population of approximately one million Arab Jews, nowadays very few Jews reside in Arab countries. The horrible human tragedies experienced by the Jews in Arab countries - their catastrophe - is almost forgotten; it is not properly taught in schools, it is not discussed in the media and it is not marked either nationally or within UN institutions. Very few people in the world are aware that approximately half of Israel's population originates from Arab countries, where Jews have lived for thousands of years. Arab propaganda has wisely concealed the chapter of population exchange conducted between Israel and the Arab countries during Israel's War of Independence. It repeatedly claimed the "right of return" for Palestinian Arabs who fought Israel. Simultaneously, Arab propaganda has succeeded to ingrain the notion that Israeli Jews "have come from Poland and Germany," while the "Palestinian Nakba" is the only disaster that took place upon the establishment of the State of Israel. Israel must place the issue of Arab Jews on the agenda, as a main part of the history of the Israeli people in their country. The sooner we rectify the injustice, the better. The author was an ambassador and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2012-02-10 00:00:00

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