Thursday, January 31, 2013

Israel's Flood of Jewish Immigrants From Arab Countries

Nadene Goldfoot
Why are there still Arab refugees in camps all over the Middle East since 1948 living on the the money from the UN?  Why haven't they become citizens of the Arab country that they came from?  It's been 64 years.

In May 1948  Israel was created through the United Nations with 650,000 people for a Jewish Homeland   It had been 2,000 years that they had gone without a homeland of their own.   Jews had been suffering from anti-Semitic activities since 70 CE through the present time with pogroms in Russia and the Holocaust that killed 6 million of them.   Jews were forced out of their Middle East homes and had to emigrate to Israel as soon as it was created.  Given a choice, they might have wanted to wait for the fighting to stop, first.

Besides fighting for their life the minute they announced the recognition of their state, they had to deal with immigration, which meant housing, feeding and clothing people coming into the country.  They received refugees from the Holocaust in Europe.  Many were the remnants of the Jewish communities in Poland, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia.  They came on ships.

Entire Jewish communities came from Arab countries including 121,000 out of the 130,000 Jews of Iraq; 44,000 out of the 45,000 Jews of Yemen of which Ofra Haza, the singer, was one; and  30,500 out of 35,000 Jews of Libya.   Often tents had to be put up for a temporary housing.

Between 1955 and 1957 there were 165,000 Jews that came from Morocco, Tunisia, Poland and other countries.  A large number of Jews from Romania arrived in Israel under a family reunification plan.    Between 1961 and 1964 there were 215,000 Jews that came, mainly from Eastern Europe and North Africa.

Since the Six-Day War in 1967, there has been a new wave of immigration, mainly from countries in North and South America, Western Europe and the Soviet Union.  By the end of 1972, about 200,000 immigrants had arrived.  Russian immigrants were settled on the Sinai Desert and Ethiopians were settled in Safed, which was cold in the winter.  It all depended on where housing existed.

This ended the life of ancient Jewish communities of Iraq, Yemen, Egypt and Libya who all had a history of of living there for the past 2,000 years. They were the Sefardi and Mitzraim Jews.   They had lived as 2nd class citizens with rules and regulations to follow because they were Jewish.  They had been held back and came with a completely different culture from the Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews.  That was an adjustment that Jews of Israel had to make.  Altogether nearly 700,000 immigrants, almost half the total -came as destitute refugees from Moslem countries.  That number matches that of the Palestinian Arabs who became refugees in 1948.    Israel had to manage 1,400,000 immigrants over their first 24 years along with the wars of :

1. November 29, 1947- 1949:   War of Independence: Arabs responded with war to the UN resolution on Palestine and continued until the Armistice Agreement  By April 1948 the land was invaded from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt to reinforce local Arabs attacking communities and blocking main roads.  Then on May 14, 1948 Israel was invaded by the armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and a Saudi-Arabian contingent.  The next day the head of the Arab League,  Azzam Pasha,  proclaimed from Cairo that "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and Crusades."  They're still in the attempt.
2. October 29 1956-November 5, 1956:   The Sinai War (Suez crisis) 
3. June 4-11, 1967:  The Six Day War
4. August 7,1968- August 7-8, 1970  The War of Attrition
5. October 6-25,  1973 The Yom Kippur War

There was an armistice and a cease fire between wars.  Even times between wars were filled with clashes along the frontier lines.  Arab terrorists, known as fidayun who were supported by Arab governments, made forays into Israel committing acts of terrorism and sabotage.

Several Eastern European countries also saw the removal of the remnant of Jews not killed in the Holocaust like Poland, Hungary and Romania where Jews had lived for centuries.  Today only a small number of Jews are there.  As a result, most Jews today live in Israel with 6 million and the United States with 6 million and 2 million more scattered through the world in places like France, England, South Africa, Canada and such.  Many from Russia were able to finally leave Russia well into the 1980's and had not been allowed to practice any religion at all.  In 1980 I was in Hebrew classes in Haifa with many Russian teachers, making up a class of 40.  I must admit that they were far more capable than I of learning a new language.

Talk about a melting pot!  This was more than the vast USA had ever thought of handling.  All these people coming in this short period of time and all speaking different languages with one common denominator, Hebrew.  The problem was that they all used it in synagogue services but not for daily communication.  Ulpans had to be set up where they went to school and learned to speak Hebrew.  Immigrants keep coming in.  Wars keep rising.  Remnants of the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel are reuniting and coming to Israel.

My 2nd cousin, Stanley Goldfoot, graduated from a high school Yeshiva in Johannesburg, South Africa and boarded a ship in 1933 at age 18 for "Palestine."  In the middle of the ocean a swastika flag went up, and he didn't know if he'd make it or not.  When he did, he was greeted by members of the Stern Group just like in the movie, "Exodus" starring Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint and Sal Mineo.  I believe Sal was playing the part of a Stern Group member. The only difference was that Stanley was very tall and Sal was short.    He was immediately indoctrinated and given work to do.  He became a news reporter, as he had a gift of writing, and  somehow wound up in prison in Acco, having been arrested by the British.  Stanley wound up finally living in Jerusalem and was one of the fighters for Israel, having served as the group's Chief of Intelligence.

Resource: Facts About Israel 1973 booklet published by the division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel.
Genesis 1948 by Dan Kurzman

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