Bill seeks refugee status for Jews

Bill seeks refugee statu

The Knesset's Immigration and Absorption Committee began hearings Tuesday regarding a bill that would ensure compensation for Jews who fled or were forced out of Arab countries following the creation of the state of Israel. The bill, which was sponsored by MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) was initially put on hold by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation out of concerns that one of its clauses would limit the government's ability to conduct peace negotiations, but the committee then unanimously approved it on the condition that Ze'ev agreed to remove the problematic clause. In addition to allowing Jews to press claims against Arab countries regarding property that they were forced to leave behind, Ze'ev argued that parallel refugee status would enable negotiators to claim that Palestinian and Jewish refugees had been part of a "population exchange," thus negating the basis for Palestinian claims to a right of return.