WASHINGTON (Oct. 28)
Arab countries were urged Wednesday to pay compensation to the estimated 850,000 Jews who were forced to leave their homes and other assets in Arab countries after the establishment of the State of Israel.
A resolution making this demand was adopted by some 300 delegates from North and South America, Europe and Israel as they ended the three-day, third international conference of the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC) here.
WOJAC also called on the Arab governments, “especially Iraq, Syria and Yemen,” to “cease the exploitation of the Arab refugee problem for political purposes.” The Arab countries should “absorb and resettle their neglected brothers, just as Israel integrated the majority of Jewish refugees from Arab countries,” the WOJAC resolution said.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told the Knesset Monday that Israel will see compensation for Jewish property abandoned in the Arab countries at the proper time. He spoke during a Knesset debate timed to coincide with the WOJAC conference.
Speakers at the conference had emphasized that the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries had not received world attention, because the refugees were welcomed into Israel and are now an integral part of that society.
COMPARE VALUE OF LOSSES
It was also stressed that there were more Jews who were forced to leave Arab countries than Palestinian Arabs who left Israel and their property which was frozen, abandoned or expropriated far exceeds the value of the property left by Palestinian Arabs.
The WOJAC delegates also said this property should be returned in a restored and repaired state, including religious and cultural assets that were confiscated. Jewish emigres should also be allowed to visit their holy sites and shrines in the Arab countries, WOJAC said.
While some countries, particularly Morocco, maintain a relatively liberal policy to the few Jews still living there, most Arab governments repress Jews and these Jews should be allowed to emigrate if they so choose, the conference said.