Plight of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran

Starting in 2015, we have been formally recognising the plight of the 800,000 Jews who were either expelled, or fled, their homes in Arab countries and Iran in the years surrounding the establishment of the State of Israel. Countries including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia had incorporated thriving Jewish communities for centuries. Some of the communities even dated back to the destruction of the Second Temple and some even before the common era.

The refugees, migrants and their descendants from this period of modern Jewish history are an integral part of the Jewish diaspora, including in NSW.

The annual commemoration is often referred to as the ‘November 30’ event because that was a day after the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine (November 29) was adopted, resulting in many Jewish communities in Arab countries and Iran starting to feel the pressure and hostility from their Arab and Persian neighbors.

The tragedy of the once-flourishing communities Jewish communities in these countries has been to a large extent unknown and unrecognised for many years. Moreover, the displaced Jews did not remain refugees for long – they were successfully integrated into Israel and other host countries like Australia.

A Jewish mother and her children are photographed outside a synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia, Jan. 1, 1950. (Graphic House/Archive Photos/Getty Images)