P 0 L I C Y BBAACCKK CG R 0 N D
1) Israel nseiste U.N. Emissary
Examine Plight of J3es in
2) ract Sheost Jews in Arab
Countries are Victime of
The Cmbassy of Israel
October 26, 1968
,L2LFAM3 OF T:'S i7-3rWAB LANECs
1) Israel is insistent that any new Special Representative the U.N.
Secretary General sends to the Middle East :Luq.inqiiel into tholwolfar6 ol
civilian populations affected by the 1967 hostilities Alsole:xamine.ino
the fate of Jewish minorities in Arab countries that went to war
2) In June 1967, the Security Council passed Resolution 237 which em-
powered the Secretary General to send a Special Representative to the
i.,iddle East with the task of inquiring into the civilian welfare in
the wake of the war.
3) Consequent to that resolution, a Special Representative, Dr. Gussing,
was dispatched' to the Mideast by the UNN. Secretary General. Israel
asked that the scope of his inquiry should include Jewish communities
in specific Arab countries. Dr. Gussing asked the Secretary General
for an opinion as to whether his inquiries should indeed embrace Jews
in Arab countries involved in the June Var. U Thant replied affirma-
tively, as stated in his report of September 15, 1967. He wrote:
--"Since the outbreak of the recent hostilities, Israel
has expressed concern about the treatment of Jewish minor-
ities, particularly in certain Arab States. Upon his arriv-
al, the Special Representative was approached on this sub-
ject by the Israel Government. The Special Representative,
not being sure whether this particular humanitarian problem
should be inquired into under his terms of reference, con-
sulted the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General in-
formed him that the provisions of Security Council resolution
237 (1967) might properly be interpreted as having applica-
tion to the treatment, at the time of the recent war and as
a result of that war, of both Arab and Jewish persons in
the States which are directly concerned because of their
participation in that war."
4) Both Egypt and Syria refused to cooperate with the Secretary General'
emissary. Though the report of September 15, 1967, does include a
chapter on Jews in their countries, it is inevitably a fragmentary one.
5) In April 1968, U Thant again requested the agreement of the countries
ir olved to appoint a second Special Representative to inquire into the
implementation of the 1967 resolution in keeping with the precedent and
mandate of the Gussing mission. Israel accepted in principle, providing
the inquiry would again include the welfare of Jews in Egypt and Syria,
and also extended to embrace the Jews of Iraq and Lebanon (see Fact Shoe
Disquieting reports from those countries justified their inclusion in
the mission. The Arab States refused to allow the mission to include
their countries and the matter returned to the Security Council, result-
ing in a resolution on September 27, 1968.
6) Israel maintains that the interpretation placed on the latest reso-
lution, which seeks to limit the investigation to the Israel adminis-
tered areas only, is unacceptable. It has informed the Secretary Gen-
eral that it is willing to receive and to cooperate with his Special
Representative on the same basis as that laid down for the fact-finding
mission of Dr. Gussing last year, namely the text of resolution 237 as
interpreted in U Thant's report of September 15, 1967. As soon as the
Governments of Arab States that participated in the war will assure
that the Special Representative will have access and cooperation indis-
pensable to the fulfillment of his mission concerning the Jewish minor-
ities in their countries, the Government of Israel will be ready to
discuss the arrangements for the mission in the territories it has ad-
ministered since the war.
7) Any other procedure would be manifestly discriminatory, condemning
the Jews languishing in the jails and concentration camps of Egypt,
Syria and Iraq to oblivion, their sole crime being the fact that they
JEWVS IN AP.AB COUNiTIES AE VICTIMS
OF INCIEASIN PERSECUTION
a) Shrunkon Conmmunities
In 1948, there were a total -of 350,000 Jews residing, most of them
for generations, in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen and Aden.
By MIay 1967, on the eve of the Six-Day War, their number had dwindled
to 19,000, as the following table shows:.
JEWISH POPULATIONS IN i;IDEAST ARfAB COUNTRIES
Pre-1948 May 1967
Iraq 120,000 2.,500
Egypt 80,000 2,500
Syria 30,000 4,000
Lebanon 6,000 6,000
Libya 35,000 4,000
Yemen 70,000 -
Aden 9,000 138
TOTAL 350,.000 19,138
-b) Causes ofExodus
The history of the Jewish commlnitios in some of these countries
goes back to Bible times. Jews have lived in Egypt, Syria and Iraq
since the days of the First Temple. In some eras, they enjoyo'd toler-
ance; in others, they were subject to persecution. With the rise of
modern Arab nationalism, and particularly since 1948, the Jews of
these countries became increasiLgly exposed to official loss of rights,
confiscation of property and frequent imprisonment. Pogroms became
commonplace, and the Jews of the Middle East became practically outlaws.
In most.instances, flight to Israel became their only escape By
1960, more than half a million Jews from Arab League States (including
North Africa) had arrived in Israel. (Natural increase has brought
their figure to about 1,000,000.) In hardly more than a decade, the
historic communities of Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen were all
but totally eliminated, the Jows boing compelled to leavo' behind them
:r., 4 I .
thoir valuables and assets. Many travolled with little m.or. thn what
they could. carry in their sat..ls. The -threa of the head of toO
Egyptian delegation in the U.N. ,i. 194-7 that "the lives of La miilliioi
Jews in M:oslem countries will Io jeopardized by the establishment of a
Jewish State" was made good.
c) Absorption into Israel
The number of the Jewish refugees,is roughly of the' same order of
magnitude as the number of Arabs whom the Arab League's invasion of
Israel in 1948 induced to depart. T.he major difference and a very
material one is that in the case of the Jews who came to Israel, they
were totally and constructively absorbed into the country, the financial
burden being borne mainly by the State of Israel and the Jewish people
-Iost of the newcomers arrived-without means or skills and a vast
refugee rehabilitation program was necessary to receive, house and
train them; give them immediate employment and find them steady jobs in
agriculture and industry; build new villages and development towns;
establish and expand public social and educational services; and speed
up social and cultural integration. Within a matter of years, those
who were once penniless refugees became skilled farmers and workers,
helping in the building and settling of 485 new villages in once barren
areas, and speeding the development of an industrial labor force amount-
ing to a quarter of a million workers.
d) persecuteddRemna&nt in Arab Lands
i) The few thousand Jews left in theArab lands of the Middle East
have been made into virtual hostages. W7ith the outbreak of. the Six-Day
Var in June 1967, a number of Arab Governments ordered the arrest 6of
the Jewish males, the confiscation of their property, the rescinding of
whateverccivil rights they still enjoyed, and turned a blind eye on the
mob attacks to which they were subjected. The Governments unleashed
Virulent anti-Jewish campaigns in the State-controlled press, radio and
television. At the Islamic Congress held in Amman in September 1967,
it was rsolvod that. "the Jews of the il;oslem countries, if it be shown
that they have any contact with Zionism or Israel, will be regarded as
enemies of Islam...All Moslem peopl3s...must boycott the Jews and treat
thalem as sworn ene~:mies."
Those eventually freed had to forfeit their property and nationality
:nd leave Egypt with only their personal belongings. -Hundreds of Jews
are still held in custody near Cairo. Any Jews yet living in Egypt
exist in'misery without means' of livelihood and ale in dire need of help.
Until September, Jewish non-Jpisoners were allowed to adave the
country.*' On.September 19-th, however, a group of 26 Jewish men, women
and chillden set to depart from Alexandria aboard- th S.S. Cynthia woEo
sudignikyre to'Id that they would not be permitted to leave. -The Egyptian
authorities have decided that no Jews; ,inside prison or out, .now shall
be allowed to leave Egypt.- This applies to Jews who hold Egyptian citi-
zenship, to Jews who are nominally stateless though their families have
lied in Egypt for generations, and even to Jews who hold foreign nation-
ality if this nationality was acquired after June 1967. Thus, the small
Jewish remnant in Egypt, about 1,.000 today, is. still being held hostage
by the Egyptian Government. Since the June 1967 war, approximately
1,500 have been expelled from or voluntarily quit Egypt. The 26 persons
due to leave on the S.S. Cynthia'on September 19, 1968, already.had been
denaturalized and deprived of any legal status in Egypt when their de-
partire was suddenly forbidden.
The Jewish men in prison now have been held in jail for over 15
months, though guilty of no offense nor charged with any. The Egyptian
Government has not even gone through the pretense of accusing them of
anything. Their release, so it is reliably reported, requires the sig-
nature of President Nasser.
iii) In Iraq, a similar picture of persecution and hardship emerges.
The Government Gazette No. 1562 (Iviarch 1963) publi'shod Law No. 10 "for
the supervision and management of the properties of denaturalized Jews."
It supplements a similar Law (No. 64, July 1967) and lays down among
its provisions that "authorities shall abstain from carrying out. any
tran:;.:ction of sale of immovable properties belonging to .a Jew." By
o-bio laws, it is iampossi.le fur -;: ovw in :r:qo today to sell or o-lo:w:-
w..se di&ssoso of any "i-ovaLb.L ?rop --y without .the permission of the
M.iniatoc of tho Interior. They p-'evont Government offices -and priv te
ibu .sisases from paying out sums duo to Jews, with the exception of small
salary allowances. -..
In the period since the hostilities of 1967, more than 100 Jewish
heads of families and community leaders have suffered detention at one
time or another. The government refuses to allow Jews to emigrate,
SOfficial incitement on radio and television and in the press is unre-
lenting. The populace has been "instigated to boycott Jewish citizens.
The authorities threaten murder to extort large sums. Jews haveS lost
their jobs; their telephones have been taken away; their businesses
sequestered; and their right to attend universities has been denied.
.Jews are prohibited from leaving their areas of residence and have to
carry special identity cards.
iv) In Syria, Jews are n'ot allowed to travel beyond omil:oln.dtka.lf
outside Damascus. Having been ousted from their places of employment,
they live, for the most part, herded into ghettos, on whatever savings
they might have. Jewish teachers in Damascus'have been replaced by
Arabs. The Jewish charitable institutions have all but closed down,
since their sources of income abroad have been sealed off. A virtual
curfew has been introduced, and checks are made to assure that Jews
are in their homes by 10 p.m. Those still going to work must register
with the police on leaving and returning. They are compelled to carry
identity cards marked "Jew". Jewish shops and businesses are officially
boycotted. The Minister of Defense (Circular No. 4, February 1968,
Ref: 26/27/2) listed all Jewish merchants and forbade army personnel to
deal with them. There is a total ban on Jewish emigration.
e) The Arab Governments oppose any United Nations investigation of the
oppression of Jews in their lands because of the extent of that oppres-
sion, They have banned not only U.N. representatives from looking into
the problem, claiming (as did the Nazis in their day) that their treat-
mcrt of Jews is an internal mat-ter. They have also refused to a.llo
delo:atos of the International TedJ Crc.ss and other humanitarian or:a:ln.-
z;tio-s visit the prisons and coc-.tra.i. cai's in hich. the ,,'. ..:-.
... ..j '. 0 .L- .i v .