The exodus of Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran has been commemorated in several countries. Here is a round-up of events in New York, Israel, England and Scandinavia:
At the United Nations:
JIMENA in partnership with Israel’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations hosted a commemoration program honoring Jewish refugees from North Africa and the Middle East.
H.E.Danny Danon (pictured) – spoke of his Egyptian family and the imperative of recognizing the one million Jewish refugees from the region.
U.S. Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism, Elan Carr shared the story of his Iraqi mother and challenged the Arab world to recall and reckon with the 2,500 years of Jewish life in the Middle East that came to an abrupt end as a result of antisemitism.
Former Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan shared her hopes of a Middle East free from intolerance and bigotry that embraces the diversity that once existed throughout the region. You can watch the whole event here.
Yemenite folk dancers performed at the Rehovot Festival.
Harif, the Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, marked 30th November, the Day to remember the exodus of 850,000 Jews from Arab countries, with a lively evening celebrating Mizrahim music by Eastern Beats. The event, arranged jointly with the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation, attracted a capacity crowd.
For HE the Israel ambassador, Mark Regev, attending with his wife Vered, the occasion was personal. Vered’s family escaped Aleppo in Syria on foot through Lebanon to arrive, destitute, in Israel. Vered’s great-grandmother died on the way and had to be buried by the roadside.
While there were periods when it was better to be a Jew in the Muslim world than in Europe, Jews always had an inferior, or dhimmi status,’ Mr Regev said. ‘Israel was seen as a ‘dhimmi state’ by the Arab world’.
Djerba-born S&P Rabbi Israel Elia recounted how, on a trip to Tunisia, he thanked his government hosts:
‘We are not your hosts’, they said, ‘ you were here before us’. The Jews had indeed settled North Africa 1,000 years before Islam.
From L to R: Nizza Fluss, Michelle Huberman, Lyn Julius, Laurence Julius, Sandra Dangoor, Vered Regev and HE Ambassador of Israel Mark Regev at the London Commemoration
Special Guests at the first official Commemoration in Copenhagen were the Ambassador of Israel Benny Dagan and Social Democratic MP Lars Aslan Rassmussen. Lyn Julius (pictured below) gave the keynote speech. The event was arranged by Rika Greenberg of Med Israel for Fred.
At the Official Commemorative event in Oslo, there were speeches from HE the Israeli Ambassador Alon Roth and from the leader of the Friends of Israel in the Norwegian Parliament, Hans Frederik Grøvan. Other events took place in Bergen and Kristiansand, arranged by MIFF and Hjelp Jødene Hjem.
Top: Ambassador Alon Roth. Below: MS Hans Frederik Grøvan.