For Meir Kahlon, chairman of the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries, this is a historic week. For the first time, Israel has officially recognized his suffering, that of his family and some 850,000 other Jews who left, were expelled or fled from their homes in Syria, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon and other Arab and Muslim countries around the time of the founding of the State of Israel and afterwards.
November 30 is the official day the State of Israel marks for the first time as the national day of commemoration for Jewish refugees from Arab lands and Iran, based on a law sponsored by MK Shimon Ohayon (Yisrael Beiteinu) and passed this summer by the Knesset. The date has a special meaning – it is the day after November 29, the day in 1947 that the United Nations General Assembly approved the partition plan for the Palestine Mandate and the creation of a Jewish state. November 30, the day after the decision, is the day the Arabs started their concerted attacks on the Jews.
Almost a million Jews lived in Arab and Muslim countries in 1948 when Israel was founded. The largest Jewish community was in Morocco, with 250,000 Jews. Today only a few tens of thousands of Jews are left in all the Arab countries together.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement: "We mark today for the first time the exodus and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries and from Iran in the first years after the state of Israel was founded. It is not for nothing that this day is marked the day after November 29th – [when] the Arab countries that did not agree with the United Nations resolution establishing the Jewish state forced the Jews in their territory to leave their homes, leaving behind them their property. In some cases, the expulsion was carried out alongside pogroms and violence against Jews. We acted, and we'll continue to act, so that they and their demands will not be forgotten."
Learn more about Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries at the Point of No Return Blog.
Read more at Haaretz.