On Monday, June 23, 2014, a law written by MK Dr. Shimon Ohayon (Yisrael Beytenu) was passed which will for the first time designate November 30th as a national day of commemoration for the Jewish refugees from Arab lands.
“Today, we have finally corrected an historic injustice and placed the issue of Jews who were expelled or pushed out of the Arab world in the last century on the national and international agenda,” MK Ohayon said. “In Israel, the history of the Jews who originally came from the Middle East or North Africa, who make up around half of the population, was ignored for too long.”
“Form this year, every child in Israel will learn about the history of the Jews of the region, who arrived long before the Islamic conquest and Arab occupation of the region. This is a vital part of our fight against those internally and externally who delegitimize our presence here in the region and claim we are somehow foreign to the region.”
The law states that the Ministry of Pensioners Affairs will be in charge of organizing the official commemorations, the Ministry of Education will be responsible for including the issue in the educational curriculum and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be responsible for ensuring that the issue is raised in all appropriate diplomatic channels.
“Finally, our stories and our history will be heard. Too few people know about this issue in Israel which is a national disgrace, and even fewer people around the world are even aware that Jews were ethnically cleansed from what is now known as the Arab world, who were there before the Arabs even arrived,” MK Ohayon said. “I hope that the return of this issue to the national agenda will ensure that eventually there is redress for the hundreds of thousands of Jews and their descendants who were expelled from their homes and communities.
“I know Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has for a long time brought this issue onto the international agenda and the Foreign Ministry organizes an annual event at the United Nations devoted to this issue. We will continue to work with many organizations and communities around the world who have expressed interest in ensuring that this day is recognized and commemorated globally.”