Jews expelled from Arab countries left behind $30b. in assets
January, 03 2001
TEL AVIV (January 3) – Jews who emigrated from Arab countries between 1922 and 1952 left behind an estimated $30 billion in assets, according to former internal security minister Moshe Shahal, who chairs a world organization of Jews from Arab countries.
Shahal told a news conference in Tel Aviv that the organization was raising the issue to balance the claims of Palestinian refugees in the peace negotiations. He maintained that Jews should also be compensated for having been exiled from Arab countries, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
Shahal said that a political settlement with the Palestinians should take into account that some 850,000 Jews once lived in these countries. Many were stripped of their assets and expelled in the aftermath of Israel’s establishment in 1948, or due to the rise of Arab nationalism in the 20th century.
In all, some 600,000 Jews emigrated from Arab countries, while other Jews of Middle Eastern origin emigrated from elsewhere.
Shahal said his organization planned to submit a report about public Jewish property in Arab countries, on the basis of affidavits submitted by people once involved in community affairs in those countries.
In his statements after the Camp David summit in July, US President Bill Clinton mentioned the need to resolve the issue of Jews in Israel and abroad who became refugees due to Israel’s founding.