Dozens of diplomats attend Jewish Refugee Day event

An event on Wednesday was held at the Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center in Or-Yehuda marking Jewish Refugee Day from Arab countries and Iran.

Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll speaks at an event marking Jewish Refugee Day from Arab countries and Iran at the Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center in Or-Yehuda on December 8, 2021. (photo credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM/GPO)
Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll speaks at an event marking Jewish Refugee Day from Arab countries and Iran at the Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center in Or-Yehuda on December 8, 2021.
(photo credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM/GPO)

Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll hosted dozens of diplomats from around the world on Wednesday at an event marking Jewish Refugee Day from Arab countries and Iran, which took place at the Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center in Or-Yehuda.

The event was attended by dozens of diplomats and ambassadors from various countries including the head of the foreign diplomatic staff in Israel, Ambassador of Zambia Martin Mwanambale.

"The trauma of the escape, the sight of the synagogues that were vandalized, the relatives who were taken to the 'Muhbarat' [secret police] prison and since then their traces have been lost, or the house left behind, are all branded [into the hearts] of Arab and Iranian Jews who were forced to flee," Roll said at the event.

"The deportation of Jews from Arab countries and Iran is an issue that is not in the discourse on Israel and the region, and those refugees who have been deported deserve compensation, or at least recognition," he said.

"The Jews of the Arab countries and Iran went through many difficulties both when they were expelled from their countries and when they were absorbed into the country [of Israel] in transit camps, but they eventually became a central, significant and important part of Israeli culture and history," he said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll attends an event marking Jewish Refugee Day from Arab countries and Iran at the Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center in Or-Yehuda on December 8, 2021. (credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM/GPO)Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll attends an event marking Jewish Refugee Day from Arab countries and Iran at the Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center in Or-Yehuda on December 8, 2021. (credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM/GPO)

On a personal note, Roll added that "the family and the house I established together with my partner are built from different diasporas - Yemen, Iraq and Poland. This combination of cultures, which produces a new and diverse culture, is the magic secret of Israel and of the Israeli story."

Roll concluded by noting the importance of raising awareness towards Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran amongst diplomats from around the world.

Israel has commemorated the deportation of Jews from Arab countries and Iran as a national memorial day on November 30 since 2014.

Some 850,000 Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, departed, escaped, or were expelled from Arab countries and the Muslim world mainly from 1948 to the early 1970s. The last major migration wave took place from Iran in 1979–80, as a consequence of the Iranian Revolution.