'Cairo seizes papers on Egyptian Jews’ assets'
Egyptian security services reportedly seize some 1.7 million documents detailing Egyptian Jews' assets in '40-'60.
Jewish refugees arrive in Palestine Photo: REUTERS
Some 1.7 million documents – purportedly containing details about the assets of
Egyptian Jews in the 1940s, 50s and 60s – were seized by Egyptian security
services in recent days just before they were exported to Israel, according to
several online newspapers.
A report in the Egyptian government- owned
Al-Ahram daily newspaper holds that the “Jewish documents,” packed in 13
cartons, were confiscated by Egyptian authorities ahead of them being “smuggled”
out of the country from Jordan.
Several Israeli online newspapers –
including The Times of Israel and Ynet have carried the report sourcing
Al-Ahram, but it could not be independently confirmed.
Jews who lived in
now long-gone or moribund Jewish communities in the Arab world have recently made
headlines as Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon launched a campaign to have
them recognized as refugees.
He said any property owned by these Jews
from Arab countries – some of whom left in 1948, some throughout the 1950s, and
others just after the Six-Day War of 1967 – must be included in discussions for
compensation of refugees.
Ultimately, Ayalon argued, they should be
considered refugees, just as Palestinians who fled during those years are – a
controversial position that even some immigrants to Israel and their descendants
The deputy foreign minister said Monday that he had no knowledge
of the supposed documents that had been confiscated by Egyptian
Israel already has all the documentation it needs, he
“We have this great pool here of testimonies of the survivors who
are still alive. All of this information about blocking the documents has no
basis, because we have all the information here with us,” Ayalon told The
“With all due respect to whether these documents exist or
not, we have enough historical information and testimonies right there,” he
The minister said that the information Israel has collected on the
issue is being updated, but will not be dealt with until there is a
comprehensive peace solution.
“The main issue is to refresh all of this
documentation and to have it ready when the issue of refugees will be resolved,”
Ayalon added. “And it will not be resolved before a comprehensive peace in the
Middle East takes place. We’re just laying the groundwork morally, politically
and legally, so that when the issue will come on the table, there will be
justice for Arab refugees and Jewish refugees.”
The US-based group
JIMENA, which stands for Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa,
said it had no comment on the story.
“At this time, we are trying to
verify this information,” said Kouichi Shirayanagi, a spokesman for JIMENA
located in the San Francisco area.