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Israelis long to reconnect with Arab, Islamic homelands

Many Israeli Jews with Middle Eastern origins remember a painful expulsion from their homelands and want to preserve and celebrate the history of those Jewish communities.
Jewish cemetery Iran

Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum is working to advance the construction of a museum dedicated to the heritage of Sephardic Jews. She told Al-Monitor, "There are several museums and foundations in Israel dedicated to Jews from the region. For instance, we have the excellent Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in the town of Or Yehuda, dedicated to the heritage of the Iraqi Jewish community. We have the International Center for North African Jewry in Jerusalem. What we lack is a national museum, one run by the State of Israel, which will honor, commemorate and preserve the history and the traditions of Sephardic Jews and Jews from all Arab countries. I have been pushing this idea for some time now, and we have started inspecting plots, either owned by the Jerusalem municipality or state-owned land, that could potentially house such a project."

Hassan-Nahoum is also the co-founder of the UAE-Israel Business Council and very active on advancing trade and other relations between Israel and Gulf countries. She said that Israelis of Mizrahi origins should spearhead efforts to create future partnerships with the Arab world as well as preserve the history of Jewish communities in the Middle East, North Africa and Iran.

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