'State failed to properly collect data on Jewish refugees of Iran, Arab countries'

State comptroller says that despite importance of issue, internally and in peace talks, Ministry for Pensioners' Affairs has taken very little action.

February 5, 2014 16:08
1 minute read.
Jewish immigrants from Yemen in 1949

Jewish immigrants from Yemen in 1949 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)


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State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on Wednesday slammed the state’s office for Elderly Persons for failing to properly collect data regarding Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab countries and Iran after Israel’s founding.

Of the estimated hundreds of thousands expelled, information has been collected for only 130 new claims for compensatory relief, and prior information on 14,000 claims from the Justice Ministry has not been integrated.

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From 2003-2007, the state made a series of decisions toward gathering information about the Jewish refugees in order to potentially obtain compensatory relief for their losses.

In 2009, the Elderly Persons office was assigned the role of developing a database relating to the issue, which has come up from time to time in peace negotiations between Israel and its neighbors on resolving the Israeli- Arab conflict.

The Knesset State Control Committee asked the State Comptroller’s Office to investigate the status of the database in July 2012.

The comptroller investigated the development of the database during the period of August 2012-May 2013 and found “severe” deficiencies regarding the “research, compiling, recording and gathering of information with regard to the rights of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran.”

Shapira said that despite repeated declarations of the importance of the issue (both internally and in peace negotiations), the state authority assigned to work on the issue has taken very little action and there has been little oversight.

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