(photo credit: REUTERS/Uriel Sinai/Pool )
A bill marking November 30 as the official day of the expulsion and departure of Jews from Arab countries and Iran was expected to pass its first reading Monday night.
The proposal, by MK Shimon Ohayon (Likud Beytenu) would allow the senior citizens minister to hold an official ceremony, education minister to instruct schools to discuss the history behind the day and foreign minister to hold events around the world on the matter.
Ohayon, chairman of the Knesset Caucus for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, referred to US Envoy Martin Indyk’s comments that a framework for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would mention compensation for such refugees.
“I was happy to hear Indyk’s declaration recognizing the rights of Jewish refugees and that they deserve compensation for their private and communal property, which was taken from them,” Ohayon said.
Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach, in charge of pensioners’ affairs, said Monday that the bill does not use the word “refugees,” because many Jews from Arab countries are proud to have come to Israel out of Zionism and not because they were chased out.
However, there was rampant anti-Jewish sentiment in the Middle East, Orbach said, pointing to the Farhud, a pogrom in Bagdhad in 1941.