Tuesday, May 29, 2018

How the Arabs Had Treated Jewish Refugees

Nadene Goldfoot

More than 10,000 Jews became refugees from areas of the Palestine Mandate where Arab armies prevailed. 

There were Jews living in Arab countries before the creation of the modern state of Israel.  They had lived there for centuries, probably since 70 CE when the Romans occupying Judah had decided to burn down the Temple and Jerusalem to take it over completely.  They thought they had ended Jews living there, but there were those that existed in higher elevation and out of way places from the Romans

Jews not yet enslaved by the Romans escaped to nearby Arab lands which would become Muslim much later between 590-620 CE.  Then they would be constrained as 2nd class people called Dhimmis as per Sha'ria law." Non-Muslims living in an Islamic state with legal protection.  The word literally means "protected person".  Dhimmis had their rights fully protected in their communities, but as citizens in the Islamic state, had certain restrictions, and it was obligatory for them to pay the jizya tax, which complemented the zakat, or alms, paid by the Muslim subjects. Dhimmis were exempt from certain duties assigned specifically to Muslims, and did not enjoy certain political rights reserved for Muslims, but were otherwise equal under the laws of property,contract and obligation.    

Some states treated Jews better than others. Historically, dhimmi status was originally applied to JewsChristians, and Sabians.  María Rosa Menocal, argues that the Jewish dhimmis living under the caliphate, while allowed fewer rights than Muslims, were still better off than in the Christian parts of Europe. Jews from other parts of Europe made their way to al-Andalus, where in parallel to Christian sects regarded as heretical by Catholic Europe, they were not just tolerated, but where opportunities to practice faith and trade were open without restriction save for the prohibitions on proselytization.

With the declaration of the Jewish state of Israel, suddenly Jews were no longer welcome in Arab countries and they were forced to become refugees.
West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza had Arab armies which razed Jewish communities and killed or expelled all Jews.  
After the 1948 war, NO JEWS were allowed to live in Arab-occupied zones. 
Jordan took control of Judea-Samaria and refused to protect any Jewish holy sites. 

In East Jerusalem alone, 57 synagogues, libraries and houses of learning, many being centuries old, were desecrated and destroyed, their stones later used  to build sidewalks, roads and to build urinals.

1948-1949's War of Independence resulted in over 850,000 Jews to be either expelled from Arab and other Muslim lands or to flee from rising persecution.  Between 1949 and 1954, Jews became homeless though some of their communities were over 2,000 years old. 

Between 1948 and 2000, the Jewish population in Middle Eastern and North African countries dropped from around 900,000 to less than 50,000. 
Jewish Population (Mizrachi Jews) that Declined in Arab Lands
                   1948                         2000
Algeria       140,000                      100
Egypt           75,000                      200
Iran            100,000                  12,000 to 40,000 (a relative had to sneak out when a teen on a camel)
Iraq            150,000                      100
Lebanon      20,000                      100
Libya          38,000                          0
Morocco   265,000                    5,800
Syria           30,000                       200
Tunisia     105,000                    1,500
Yemen        55,000                       200

New York Times, May 16, 1948900,000 Jews in Africa and Asia face wrath of their foes.

May 14, 1948 was the birth of Israel.  As new as it was, barely recovering from the destruction of the 1948 war, struggle to bring in and house both the now homeless Jews from Arab lands or Mizrachim and the 300,000 European or Ashkenazi Jewish refugees of World War II's Holocaust.  6,000,000,000 Jews had been slaughtered in Europe of which many had been kept out of Palestine-the League of Nations' promised  Jewish Homeland, by the Brits between 1920 to 1948.  

The population of Israel in 1948 was 650,000, the same number that had entered Canaan with Joshua at the end of the Exodus.  This population more than doubled in just 3 years.  
It's mission was to be the refuge for persecuted Jews and that's why it was created in the first place.  Now they had more than they had realized existed.  Historian Howard Sachar had commented, "No influx like it had been witnessed in modern times.  It was an 'open door' from which older and vastly wealthier nations would have recoiled in dismay."  Temporary refugee camps called "ma"abarot" were set up in ISrael during the state's early years to absorb the Jewish refugees.  

Of the Jewish refugees, 2/3 of them settled in the newly formed Israel while the other 1/3 resettled in other nations. Those wanting to enter the USA had to have an American sponsor.   Today, these refugees from the Middle East and their descendants make up over half of Israel's Jewish population.  Gaza's recent Jewish population, who had to move out in the name of peace to allow Arabs to live there, are the last refugees to find a place to live-again.  

Resource:  Israel 101, by StandWithUs, 2010, p. 14, Aftermath of Wars.  

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