'Cairo seizes papers on Egyptian Jews’ assets'

Egyptian security services reportedly seize some 1.7 million documents detailing Egyptian Jews' assets in '40-'60.

By ILENE PRUSHER
October 30, 2012 03:15
2 minute read.
Jewish refugees arrive in Palestine

Jewish refugees arrive in Palestine 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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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.

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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 dispute.

The deputy foreign minister said Monday that he had no knowledge of the supposed documents that had been confiscated by Egyptian authorities.



Israel already has all the documentation it needs, he said.

“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 Jerusalem Post.

“With all due respect to whether these documents exist or not, we have enough historical information and testimonies right there,” he said.

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.

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