(Communicated by the Deputy Foreign Minister's Bureau)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is launching a new international campaign this week entitled "I am a refugee". The campaign, spearheaded by Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon, will be presented in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and English. Its purpose: to increase international awareness of a little-known refugee group - Jewish refugees from Arab countries.
Many Jews who had lived for generations in Arab countries were driven from their homes as a result of antisemitism and anti-Jewish riots that broke out in the Arab countries following the declaration of the Jewish state. Between 1948 and 1952, 856,000 Jews from Arab countries became refugees.
The "I am a refugee" campaign is being conducted online and on Facebook. On the Facebook page can be found personal stories of Israelis from Arab countries who were expelled from their homes and their countries, but not before their property was confiscated and their rights were taken from them by the rulers.
"The time has come to correct an ongoing historical injustice affecting half the population of Israel," says Deputy FM Ayalon, and adds, "We started 64 years late, but not too late. For the sake of true reconciliation with our Palestinian neighbors, the issue of the Jewish refugees must be resolved.”
The campaign led by the deputy foreign minister has whipped up a storm in the Arab world, including the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Al-Hayat and more.
DFM Ayalon calls on all refugees and their descendents to take part in the campaign and to upload their personal stories, by means of videos, written text, documents and pictures, to the Facebook page. "Tell the world your personal story, which is an inseparable part of the story of the Jewish people and the story of the re-establishment of the State of Israel," Ayalon urges.
The next stage of the campaign will be an international conference of jurists and experts. The conference will be held in Jerusalem on September 10, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Pensioner Affairs and the World Jewish Congress. In addition, a conference will take place in New York when the United Nations General Assembly convenes at the end of this month. The personal stories that appear on the Facebook page will be presented at the conference.