On June 23, 2014 the Knesset adopted a law which designates November 30th as an annual, national day of commemoration for the 850,000 Jewish refugees who were displaced from Arab countries and Iran in the 20th century.
Jews had lived in the Arab lands for thousands of years, and many of their communities preceded the advent of Islam. But in the 20th century, with the rise of Arab nationalism and the conflict in Palestine, the new Arab regimes began a campaign of massive violations of the rights of their Jewish citizens. Arab states expropriated property of their native Jews, and denaturalized, expelled, arrested, tortured and murdered many of them.
Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Today, for the first time, we are marking the exit and deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries and from Iran in the years following the establishment of the State of Israel. It is not for nothing that this day is marked on the day after the 29th of November. The Arab countries, which never accepted the UN declaration on the establishment of a Jewish state, compelled the Jews living in their territories to leave their homes while leaving their assets behind. In several instances the deportations were accompanied by pogroms and violence against Jews. We have acted – and will continue to act – so that they and their claims are not forgotten.”
The narratives of the departure of the Jews from Arab lands differ in detail by country, and from one family to another, but in the substance the stories are similar.
The Jewish community of Iraq had existed for more than 2,500 years and were a cultural center of Judaism where the Babylonian Talmud was written and compiled. This ancient community came under attack from the Iraqi government in the wake of the establishment of Israel, and was expelled, after being physically attacked with many fatalities, and their property and assets confiscated. In this film, Aharon Abudi, tells the story of his upbringing in Iraq, and the story of his family, through the Farhud pogrom and expulsion, their absorption in Israel and a life rebuilt from the ruins.