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Jews from Arab countries: the forgotten refugees

A UN conference addresses the status of Jews from Arab states who were expelled from their homeland after the creation of the state of Israel.
Diplomats from the United States and Israel are silhouetted as they join about 100 mourners at a ceremony, held on Thursday in memory of veteran Jewish leader Carmen Weinstein, at Sha'ar Hashamayim (Gate of Heaven) synagogue in downtown Cairo, April 18, 2013. Weinstein, 82, died last Saturday at her home in Cairo where she was known over the past two decades for leading efforts to preserve the overwhelmingly Muslim country's Jewish heritage. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih  (EGYPT - Tags: RELIGION POLITICS OBITUARY) -

The second annual gathering of Jewish refugees from Arab countries was held on Thursday, Nov. 21,  in a conference room at UN headquarters in New York. The event was organized by the Israeli delegation to the UN, headed by Ambassador Ron Prosor, the World Jewish Congress and the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC). The organization was established in 1975 in Paris by former Knesset member and minister Mordechai Ben-Porat and the late millionaire Leon Taman, who served as chairman of the Sephardi Federation of UK and was one of the leaders of Arab Jewry.

The mission of WOJAC was, and is, to “raise world consciousness to the story of some one million Jews from Arab and Muslim states, who were forced to flee persecution, imprisonment and pogroms.” The organization, with its slogan “The Forgotten Million,” seeks to obtain recognition of the existence of Jewish refugees from Arab countries and compensation for the property they left behind. 

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