Aharon Mor and Orly R. Rahimiyan
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
- For over 2,500 years, Jewish communities have existed in the lands now known as the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in Iran. Around one million Jews lived there at the start of the twentieth century; today less than 3 percent of that one million still remain (including Iran).
- Upon the establishment of the State of Israel, the status of Jews in Arab countries changed dramatically. The Arab world's rejection of the Jewish state triggered a deliberate surge in state-legislated discrimination and abuse by Arab regimes and their citizenry, making Jewish residence in Arab countries simply untenable. As a result, the Jews were expelled.
- There were nearly twice as many Jewish refugees as Palestinian refugees, and the value of the Jewish property confiscated by Arab governments during these expulsions is estimated to be at least 50 percent higher than the assets lost by Palestinian refugees. But the plight of Jewish refugees was not widely publicized, largely because they did not remain refugees for long.
- In 1967, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 242, which stipulates that a comprehensive peace settlement must include "a just settlement of the refugee problem." No distinction is made between Arab refugees and Jewish refugees.
- Today, a large portion of Israeli citizens are descendants of Jews displaced from Arab countries. The rights of these Jewish refugees (and their descendants) should be recognized and addressed by appropriate measures such as an international fund, as part of any comprehensive negotiations to resolve the overall issue of refugees.
- Such a solution would create a connection between the Jewish and Palestinian refugee problems and would offer a holistic, comprehensive, and just solution to the refugee issue for both sides.
Here is the full report -- note the chart listing the Jewish populations of various Muslim countries from 1948 through 2005.
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