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May 09, 1986 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-05-09

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34. Friday, May 9, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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Continued from preceding page

37911 GRAND RIVER AVE., FARMINGTON HILLS

Kristol demands."
Murray Friedman con-
tributes to the search for a
new Jewish political consen-
sus not so much as a theoreti-
cian — he tends to confine his
personal commentary to
questioning the conventional
liberal "wisdom" of the
Jewish advocacy groups and
stating his preference for cer-
tain neo-conservative alter-
natives — so much as in his
timely exposure of the stale
rigidities of Jewish positions
given emerging political real-
ities. He is acutely aware of
chasms developing between
Jewish leaders and the Jew-
ish rank and file, and between

the stated positions of organ-
ized American Jewry and
new priorities of the general
American electorate.

Whether organized Ameri-
can Jewry will ultimately em-
brace the political program of
the neo-conservatives whom
Friedman admires or evolve
something different, perhaps
even a "neo-liberalism," re-
mains to be seen. Meanwhile,
Friedman's contribution has
advanced the debate beyond
the pages of the intellectual
journals and into the forums
of American Jewish organiza-
tional life, where his probity
is justifiably respected. ❑

Jewish Refugees
Are Almost Forgotten

BY JEFF BLACK
Jerusalem — The fate of the
Palestinians living in Israel's
administered territories is the
topic of many a debate and news-
paper report, and yet one never
hears about the Jewish refugees.
In 1948, when the State of Is-
rael was established, an esti-
mated 856,000 Jews lived in
Arab countries. Nearly 30 years
later, only 25,850 remained, the
majority having found refuge
from Arab persecution in Israel.
By the same token, the number of
Arab refugees "created" (that is
to say, those who left their homes
temporarily in the hope that
when they returned, the Jewish
State would have been annihi-
lated by the invading Arab ar-
mies), numbered around 600,000.
The reason one does not read or
hear about Jewish refugees is
simply because the Jewish State
absorbed these people into its
midst, in spite of the fact that the
young country was poor and lack-
ing in natural resources and
plagued by economic difficulties.
Not only that, but the Jews who
had been forced to leave Arab
lands had no choice but to leave
their public and private. property,
thus arriving in Israel without
any means of their own.
As a result of this tremendous
exodus, Israel's population dou-
bled itself within thiee years and
many new immigrants spent
their initial period in Israel in
transit camps. These camps
housed thousands of people, often
crammed into a small space
where shelter consisted of tin
huts, tents, shacks made of
cardboard or whatever materials
were available. Despite the hard-
ships, a solution to the Jewish
refugee problem had been found.
Arab refugees, however, have
not been so fortunate. In spite of
the fact that the number of Arabs
who left their homes in 1948
comprised less than two percent
of the total Arab population in
the area, no Arab country came
to their aid. The Arab leaders
saw the political potential of
maintaining the Palestinians as
refugees ad so no effort to help
absorb these people was made. As
Ralph Galloway, the head of

United Nations Relief and Works
Agency said in 1958, "The Arab
states do not want to solve the
refugee problem. They want to
keep it as an open sore, as an af-
front to the United Nations, and
as a weapon against Israel. Arab
leaders do not give a damn
whether Arab refugees live or
die."
Israel, on the other hand, ac-
cepted 108,000 Arabs back into
her territory in 1948 while
50,000 others have since come to
live in Israel under a family reu-
nion plan. In addition to this, Is-
rael has so far allocated $120 mil-
lion to improve the economy and
social services of Palestinian
Arabs living in the administered.
areas.
In order to counteract the mis-
leading impression that only
Arab refugees exist, and in order
to defend the rights of former
Jewish refugees, an organization
named WOJAC (World Organ-
ization of Jews from Arab -Coun-
tries) was established in Novem-
ber 1975. The organization has
published booklets and pam-
phlets, which provide accounts of
the suffering and torment of Jews
from Arab countries, and how the
price they had to pay for their
freedom was abandonment of all
their wealth and personal pos-
sessions.
In 1977, WOJAC's present
chairman of the Executive Board,
Mordechai Ben-Porat, a former
Israeli Cabinet Minister, ad-
dressed the UN General Assem-
bly where he stressed that the
refugee problem caused by the
events of 1948 was not one-sided,
and that in reality a de facto
population exchange had oc-
curred. This has been recognized
by many world leaders, including
former U.S. President Jimmy
Carter. At a press conference in
1977, Carter said, "Of course the
Palestinians have rights . . .
naturally, there are also Jewish
refugees . . . they have the same
rights as others."
WOJAC is proposing to hold an
international conference later
this year.

World Zionist Press Service •

N

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