In 1948 nearly one million Jews lived in Arab lands. But In barely twenty years, they have become forgotten fugitives, expelled from their native lands, forgotten by history and where the victims themselves have hidden their fate under a cloak of silence.
A people whom legend have always associated with “wandering” many of these Jews from Arab lands had lived there for thousands of years and accepted their fate, through good times and bad times.
But 1948, the beginning of their exodus, also saw the birth of the State of Israel.
And, while the Arab armies were preparing to invade the young refugee-country, the survivors of the Shoah were piling up in rickety boats. Meanwhile a few hundred thousand Arabs from Palestine were getting ready to flee their homes, convinced that they would return as winners and conquerors.
Soon – by a terrible twist of fate they, as well, began to fill up refugee camps and passed on their refugee status to new generations.
The Jews, however, did not receive refugee status.
They had just rediscovered the land of their birthright.
And if they came from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq or from Yemen, if they had lost everything, even their relatives and their cemeteries, they were ready to rebuild their lives in the West and for many – in Israel – and try to forget their past.
Without ever asking for compensation or the right of return, or even wishing that their story be told…
It long has puzzled me how the U.N. has worked so hard to maintain the status of the Palestinians as eternal refugees, but not done so for others whose situation seems in no way different. These folks for instance:
The Sudeten Germans.