Point of No Return
08 January '10
Almost a million Jews from Arab countries have suffered persecution and looting of their properties before Israel was established and in its early years. But the State of Israel has never fought for their compensation. Even the US Congress had decided years ago that any compensation to the Palestinians will be conditioned on compensation to Arab Jews. In Israel, only now is a law being debated on a story about suffering and injustice that everyone felt more comfortable ignoring. Nadav Shragai reports for Israel Hayom of 8 January 2010 (Musaf Israel hashavua) :
Levana Vidal-Zamir was ten when the door of her parents' house on Mansur street in Helwan, then a lovely garden city, 25 km from Cairo, was broken down by Egyptian police officers in black uniforms. Even from a distance of 61 years, she vividly remembers the pale faces of her parents Esther and Victor, when they looked helplessly at the uniformed ransackers turning the house upside down, emptying drawers and cupboards and tearing mattresses apart. Levana remembers her uncle Habib was arrested, her brother David attacked, and her family printing business, "Imprimeries Vidal", one of the largest and oldest in Egypt, confiscated. Then their bank accounts were sequestered and their properties auctioned off.
Within days, immediately after the declaration of the State of Israel, the Vidal family lost all its possessions. A similar fate befell thousands of Jewish families in Egypt. During the next few months, the Egyptian authorities arrested approximately 1,300 Jews, only because they were Jews, and threw them into prison. They were never brought before a court, and after a year and a half in prison most of them were deported from Egypt and put directly on to ships.
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