During Wednesday`s meeting of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, Social Equality Ministry Director-General Avi Cohen revealed that Israel is working secretly to obtain the return of Jewish property in Arab countries and has allocated millions of shekels to the process.
”There is classified activity in conjunction with the Foreign Ministry in which we will invest millions to restore property belonging to Arab and Iranian Jewry, which will come to fruition within a month to a month-and-half. I cannot elaborate further,” he said.
Committee chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) said, ”Those who came from Arab states left their countries and left their property behind. We want to bring about historic justice, and finally make sure that this property is returned to its owners. It’s very important that the opposition and coalition be united on this issue. That’s an important tool for success.”
(Committee chairman MK Avraham Neguise)
MK Oren Hazan (Likud), who initiated the hearing, said, ”There is a change among part of the establishment that recognizes the glorious communities of the Jews of Arabia and Islam, and we hope that we will be able to correct this injustice. Till they passed a law, one time it wasn’t implemented and another time it wasn’t worded well enough.”
Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp) said, ”The issue was explicitly mentioned in our party platform before the last elections. If there is a move toward a regional arrangement, there’s no doubt that this issue must be on the agenda.”
Some of those who took part in the meeting complained that the diplomatic plan MK Hilik Bar is presenting on behalf of the Zionist Camp faction does not address the issue of restitution. In response, MK Bar said, ”My diplomatic plan is the only one in history that seeks full recognition of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries and the payment of compensation. I presented this to 210 members of the EU parliament.”
Ze’ev Ben-Yosef, a member of the World Likud executive committee, said, however, that ”Linking the issue of property restitution to a diplomatic arrangement is problematic, since the other side isn’t eager to come to such an arrangement. We must disconnect the issue of an agreement with the Arabs of Eretz Yisrael from this issue.”
Eli Gabbay, a former MK from the National Religious Party, called to recognize Jewish refugees. ”Through a diplomatic process, we must see to it that just as the United Nations transfers funds to Arab refugees it will also give the property to Jewish refugees.”
MK Anat Brko (Likud) stated that ”Europe must recognize that there are Jewish refugees here. There are no blue-blooded refugees. If they want to recognize Arab refugees, they must also recognize the Jewish ones. I consider myself the daughter of Jewish refugees from Iraq.”