Title: Policy background
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Title: Policy background
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Bibliographic ID: UF00072554
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica
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P 0 L I C Y BBAACCKK CG R 0 N D


1) Israel nseiste U.N. Emissary
Examine Plight of J3es in
Arab Countries

2) ract Sheost Jews in Arab
Countries are Victime of
Increasing Persecution



















The Cmbassy of Israel
Uashington, D.C.


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

against Israel.

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

















-2-


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

are Jews.




FACT GIlET


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 .




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