(Left) MK Nissim Zeev. (Right) Shimon Ohayon MK
Organisations representing Jews from Arab countries in Israel are rejoicing that that a Knesset law designating 30 November as an annual Day to remember Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries has been passed by the Education Committee. The law is due to be adopted by the Knesset plenum after its second and third reading in the next week or so. According to Point of No Return sources, the law was passed by the Knesset Education Committee on 10 June 2014. After the plenum passes its third reading, the law will be registered in the names of both Shas MK Nissim Zeev and Yisrael Beteinu MK Shimon Ohayon.
The Ministry of Education will be tasked with 'encouraging' the new law to be applied. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to issue instructions to its diplomats for the observance of the Day. The Ministry of Senior Citizens will be repsonsible for putting the law into practice.
The Knesset will mark the Day with a major event on 30 November. The 10 organisations who represent Jewish communities from Arab countries in Israel have already begun planning a conference to be held a few days beforehand at Bar Ilan University.
The date of 30 November was chosen because it marks the day after the Arab rejection of the 1947 UN Partition Plan providing for a Jewish and an Arab state. Anti-Jewish riots broke out soon after in Aden, Syria and Bahrain.
* Netanyahu supports Jewish refugees: Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has given verbal assurances that he fully supports the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.
In reply to a question by UK delegate Edwin Shuker at a meeting in Jerusalem with the European Jewish Congress in April, Netanyahu said expansively:"I assure you that this subject is on the peace agenda. We will not let it go."
The Prime Minister's stated position contrasts with that of his Minister of Justice and chief peace negotiator Tzipi Livni. Livni is on record as saying 'there is no connection' between Jewish and Palestinian refugees. In her view, the issue of Jewish refugees should not therefore feature on the Israel-Palestinian peace process track.