Friday, 9 September 2011

Understanding an exchange of populations can end bloodshed

This article is attributed to Dr. M. Sphardi, March 31, 2011 2:30 AM

When talking about the Palestinian refugees, reference should be made to the Mizrahi expulsion from Islamic countries in 1948.  Contrast the ways the Arabs treated the "Palestine refugees" and the way Israel handled the Mizrahim (Jews from Islamic countries) - most of whom were not culturally at all ready for life in Israel, and Israel, with housing, food and job shortages and having just defeated five Arab armies, was just not ready for them. Even after 60 years of educational advantages, there are vast cultural and values differences. But the Mizrahim have rebuilt their lives and moved into every orbit of the nation.

The Palestinians, with the vast wealth of the Arab nations, have gotten little other than UN handouts and three generations have been humiliated into wasted, angry lives. But Israel has utterly failed to make evident to the whole world the difference in the way the two sets of refugees' needs have been met. I have read only passing references to the matter of the Mizrahim through the years. Every day we don't make the message clear, we contribute to the deaths of innocent Israelis and waste billions on safeguards that would not be otherwise necessary.

Truly, passionate Zionist though I may be, I charge Israel with gross negligence in not insisting on this message reaching all ears. I have spoken of it on the radio several times and to persons both Jewish and non-Jewish. They just don't seem to grasp the simple complexities of the issue. Just this one issue might change the course of history. If you begin negotiations with the PA with an insistence that this matter be resolved first with Mizrahi losses in land and assets tabled along with PA claims, the latter would prove negligible. The world understands numbers easier than ideologies. It is calculated that Mizrahi losses in land alone would total an area seven times the landmass of Israel today!

The Data

Religions in Israel excludes "seam region"
Jews  75.5% exceeded 87% 1950-60
Muslims  16.8%
Arab Christians   2.1%
Druze  1.7% Serve in Israeli Army (IDF)
Others  3.9%  Mostly those not affiliated
 with any religion
  Source: Statistical Abstract of Israel, 2009, CBS.
 "Table 2.2 - Population, by religion"

Counting the Forgotten Refugees:
The populations of Jews in M.E.
circa 1948 and 2004

Country in the
Middle East
      Number of Jews
in 1948
          Number of Jews
in 2004
Algeria 140,000Less than 100
Egypt75,000Less than 100
Iran100,000 11,000
Iraq150,000Approx. 35
Lebanon20,000Less than 100
Syria 30,000Less than 100
Yemen55,000 200
TOTAL978,000Less than 18,635
Web Source for population data is here

The Maabarot 

Many of the 975,000 Jews expelled from Middle Eastern and North African countries who came to Israel were placed in tent cities called maabarot. Some families lived as long as twenty years in maabarot before moving to regular housing.

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