Nov. 30, 2017
- Remembering the Ethnic Cleansing of the Middle East’s Jews – Tzahi Gavrieli
My family was expelled from Iraq in 1951, like hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from other Arab countries. In 1948, the year Israel was declared a state, 265,000 Jews lived in Morocco, 150,000 in Iraq, 140,000 in Algeria, 100,000 in Egypt, 100,000 in Tunisia, 55,000 in Lebanon, 40,000 in Libya, 30,000 in Syria and thousands more throughout the Middle East and North Africa, for a total of 880,000. Shortly thereafter, over 850,000 Jews were expelled from the countries they called home.
My family’s expulsion was preceded by years of persecution. My grandmother would tell me about the Farhud in June 1941, a two-day pogrom against Iraq’s Jews. 179 were killed, 2,100 were wounded, 242 children were orphaned, and more than 50,000 households and businesses were ransacked. In Aleppo, Syria, in 1947, 75 Jews were murdered, a fifth-century synagogue was destroyed, and hundreds of homes were devastated. The government of Israel has dedicated November 30 as a day marking “Jews who were forced to flee Arab countries.”
The writer is Director of the National Campaign for Countering Delegitimization and Deputy Director-General at the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Jewish Refugees Expelled from Arab Lands and from Iran (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)