Contact: Shelomo Alfassa 917-606-8262

New York, NY (February 24, 2010) - On Tuesday February 23, 2010, after a late night session, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, passed a bill aimed at securing compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran as part of future peace negotiations in the Middle East.

According to the bill, a Jewish refugee is an Israeli citizen who left one of the Arab states, or Iran, following religious persecution. The bill stipulates that the government must include the compensation issue in all future peace negotiations.

The bill was introduced in the Knesset by SHAS MK Nissim Ze'ev with the help of Minister Moshe Kahalon and Deputy Minster Yitzhak Cohen. Representing the Knesset, and speaking at this event, were: The Hon. Ruby Rivlin, Knesset Speaker; Minister Benni Begin; Ms. Leah Shem Tov Chair of the Aliyah and Klitah Committee; Deputy Minister Yitzchak Cohen; former Minster Rafi Eitan and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Danny Ayalon.

L-R: Minister Danny Ayalon; Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin; MK Nissim Ze'ev

Foreign officials who flew in specially to participate on the program included US Congressman Eliot Engel; Canadian Member of Parliament and former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, and Stanley Urman, Executive Vice-President of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC).

L-R: Stanley Urman; Congressman Eliot Engle; Irwin Cotler, MP

Mr. Urman welcomed the Knesset decision, saying: “The world must realize that Palestinians were not the only Middle-East refugees; that there were Jewish refugees who also have rights under international law. This recognition is good for the State of Israel and it is good for the people of Israel."

Up to a million Jews were forced to leave Arab countries and Iran in the decades following the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, due to widespread discrimination and persecution.


Israel National News:
Knesset Approves Compensation for Refugees

Jerusalem Post:
Israel adds Mideast Jewish refugees to negotiations

Los Angeles Times:
Recognition for Jews displaced from Arab countries

Founded in 2002, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) is a coalition of Jewish communal organizations operating under the auspices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the American Sephardi Federation in partnership with the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, B'nai Brith International, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the World Sephardic Congress.