Israel must bring justice to Jewish refugees from Arab countries, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in remarks at the international conference on Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries Sunday evening.
"The Arab world has neglected Arab refugees for decades and has used them as a battering ram against Israel, while Israel who was just born as a nation-state, has managed to absorb and resettle the Jewish refugees from Arab countries and turn them into productive citizens." he said.
According to Foreign Ministry figures, approximately 850,000
Jews from Arab states fled their native countries following the establishment of
the State of Israel in 1948 due to state-sponsored persecution.
Speaking at the same conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon called for the recognition of
the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries for the purposes of justice
and to counter the “Arab narrative” of the Israeli-Arab conflict. He said that the Israeli government "will
not be silent and we will not give up until Jewish refugees from Arab countries
receive international recognition from the international community and the Arab
As part of the campaign to
put the issue on the diplomatic agenda, the Foreign Ministry has instructed
Israeli embassies around the world including at the UN in Geneva and New York to
raise the matter in all official government meetings and with
“Jewish refugees from Arab lands deserve to have their
story told, their history known, their rights recognized and the justice of
their cause accepted,” Ayalon continued, “not just for the sake of memory, but
to stand in opposition to the Arab narrative which has been allowed to stand
uncontested for too long.”
In this respect, Ayalon said that “the extreme and babbling
responses” of Palestinian officials shows “they have no answer to
this issue except to say that it simply doesn’t exist,” but that the facts
“belie the Palestinian attempts at historic revisionism.”
Congressman Jerald Nadler, who proposed and helped pass legislation in the House
of Representatives recognizing Jews who fled Arab countries as refugees, said
that it is wrong to recognize and deal with the rights and plight of Palestinian
refugees, and not Jewish refugees.