Ministers approve day honoring Jewish refugees of Arab states

Knesset committee passes bill proclaiming February 17 "national day of commemoration for Jewish refugees of Arab countries."

July 14, 2013 17:17
1 minute read.
Yisrael Beytenu MK Shimon Ohayon.

Yisrael Beytenu MK Shimon Ohayon 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Yisrael Beytenu)

February 17 will be the national day of commemoration for Jewish refugees of Arab countries, according to a bill authorized on Sunday by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

The bill, proposed by MK Shimon Ohayon (Likud Beytenu), states that an official date will be held to honor the 850,000 Jews who were forced out of or fled homes in Arab countries in the mid-20th century.

Ohayon chose February 17 because it was the day in 1948 when the Arab League approved a law for member states to place sanctions against their Jewish population.

The MK also sent a letter to Arab League Secretary-General Dr. Nabil el-Araby Sunday, saying his organization should “accept historic accountability for the humiliation, the suffering and the losses incurred by innocent Jewish victims of the Arab world’s declared war on the State of Israel.”

“As a matter of law and equity, the Arab League must assume full responsibility for ensuring rights and redress for Jewish refugees, the direct result of the collusive actions,” he added. “This is an important element of any future peace and reconciliation between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East.”

Ohayon’s bill was drafted with support from Justice for Jews from Arab Countries and the World Jewish Congress, who will push for Jewish communities around the world to observe the day of commemoration.

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