Jewish refugees left $150 billion in property in Arab countries

Some 850,000 Jews were forced to flee their homes in Arab countries across the Middle East in the days leading up to and following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

Iraqi Jewish refugees stand in a refugee absorption camp. established in Israel in 1950. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Iraqi Jewish refugees stand in a refugee absorption camp. established in Israel in 1950.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Israeli government, or lack there of, is seeking $150 billion in compensation for property left behind by Jewish refugees from Arab nations and Iran who were exiled from their homes when the State of Israel was founded, according to Israel Hayom.
The largest payment being demanded by Israel is from Iran who they claim owe the Jewish people $31.3 billion. Libya owes the second largest payment of $6.7 billion, followed by Yemen with a $2.6 debt, Syria with a $1.4 billion debt and Aden (which at one point was separate from the rest of Yemen) with a $700 million debt.
Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and the National Security Council worked together for several years to calculate the conservative estimates without considering the difference in value between the dollar before 1948 and the current value of the dollar. This is the first time that the value of the abandoned property has been calculated by the State of Israel. The methods used to calculate the value of the property were similar to the methods used by the Palestinians, according to Israel Hayom.
The calculations took into account land, real estate in cities and villages, business value, loss of income and income potential, movable property and Jewish public and community property.
Gamliel is expected to present the findings to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the National Security Council looks over the details.
"This is no less than the start of a correction of the historic injustice, within which it is possible to return to hundreds of thousand of Jewish refugees who lost their property what they deserve, alongside their forgotten place in the historic narrative of the young state that was established in parallel to them becoming refugees," said Gamliel.
In 2010, a law was signed stating that Jews from Arab nations and Iran would be compensated for their losses in any future negotiations, but the state did not know the value of the lost property until the current process began.
"When I began working in this important issue, I was amazed to find that there had been no dramatic progress for many years, and in practice [the issue] had been neglected," said Gamliel, according to Israel Hayom. "The current check is important, of course, for the past as well as the present and especially for these days, all the more so when policy plans such as the "Deal of the Century" of President [Donald] Trump are on the agenda with all the associated policy implications."
The figures cited by the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom are significantly lower than those from news reports earlier this year claiming that Israel was preparing to demand $250 billion in reparations from Arab states.
Iran was home to over 100,000 Jews before 1948, but in 2018 less than 10,000 Jews remained. Libya, Yemen and Aden are all empty of Jews and Syria has less than twenty Jewish citizens. Altogether, over 850,000 Jews escaped from Arab nations and Iran in the days leading up to and following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Billions of dollars worth of property was confiscated, severe restrictions were placed on the Jews and some were executed.