Jewish exodus from Arab lands

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The precise circumstances of the Jewish exodus vary between Arab regions and states and change over time. On the one hand, many Jews experienced tension within the Arab countries, as did other minorities. Conversely, the idea of Zionism and of a Jewish state was appealing to the Jews; however, this entailed leaving the land in which they had lived for generations. Insecurity was exacerbated by the process of the Arab struggle for independence and the conflict in Palestine and in some cases this led to physical expulsion and appropriation of property.

According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, "claims are made that Jews emigrated either because of the influence of Zionism or due to persecution by Arab countries;[8] however, as no surveys were taken at the time and as the one does not contradict the other it is not possible to effectively separate the two causes."

Historian Tom Segev stated: "Deciding to emigrate to Israel was often a very personal decision. It was based on the particular circumstances of the individual’s life. They were not all poor, or ‘dwellers in dark caves and smoking pits.’ Nor were they always subject to persecution, repression or discrimination in their native lands. They emigrated for a variety of reasons, depending on the country, the time, the community, and the person."[9][non-primary source needed]

Some Jews of Middle Eastern origin, including former Knesset speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu, former government minister Shlomo Hillel, and politician Ran Cohen state that they left their country of origin for Israel to pursue Zionist aspirations and not as refugees fleeing Arab persecution:[10]

During the Second World War Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya came under Nazi or Vichy French occupation and these Jews were subject to various persecutions. In other areas Nazi propaganda targeted Arab populations under British or French rule.[11] National Socialist propaganda contributed to the transfer of racial antisemitism to the Arab world and is likely to have unsettled Jewish communities.[12] In June 1941 there was a coup d'état in Iraq. Following the collapse of the new regime, an anti-Jewish pogrom took place, leading to the death of 180 Jews. Anti-Jewish riots involving the loss of life also took place in Libya in 1945, in Yemen in 1947 and in Egypt, Morocco and Iraq in 1948. At the same time, independent Arab countries began to encourage Jewish emigration to Israel.[13][14][15] Arab pogroms against Jews appeared to spread throughout the Arab world, and there were intensified riots in Yemen and Syria in particular. In Libya, Jews were deprived of citizenship, and in Iraq, their property was seized. Those Jews who were forced to emigrate were not allowed to take their property. In recent years a Jewish advocacy group, JJAC has alleged that Arab League members formulated a coordinated policy to expel or force the departure of the Jewish population.[16]

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