Jew­ish Prop­er­ty Claims Against Arab Countries

Michael R. Fischbach
  • Review
By – September 8, 2011
This book exam­ines in detail Jew­ish per­son­al and com­mu­nal prop­er­ty loss in Arab coun­tries and the his­to­ry of claims since the late 1940’s. After review­ing Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion cen­ters in the Arab world and the impact of the Arab-Israeli con­flict on Jew­ish life, Fis­chbach details Jew­ish prop­er­ty loss in each coun­try result­ing from the mass emi­gra­tion of Jews, most­ly in the 1950’s and 1960’s, main­ly to Israel, Europe, and North Amer­i­ca. These Jews often lost most of their finan­cial and real estate hold­ings. Fis­chbach stud­ies how these prop­er­ty claims were han­dled by Israel in com­par­i­son to the way Holo­caust repa­ra­tions were treat­ed: for a long time Israel tried to link these claims to future claims by Pales­tin­ian refugees, a pol­i­cy to which many indi­vid­u­als and Jews who did not set­tle in Israel object­ed. The last part of the book deals with the cur­rent sta­tus of these claims. Despite the sign­ing of peace agree­ments between Israel and sev­er­al Arab coun­tries, prop­er­ty claims were not brought forth for­mal­ly by Israel, though some indi­vid­u­als tried to reach pri­vate set­tle­ments. This is the most com­pre­hen­sive study of the sub­ject, based on exten­sive archival resources and pub­lished stud­ies and mem­oirs. It is an impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the study of Mid­dle East­ern and North African Jews as well as to minori­ties stud­ies, Israeli pol­i­tics, and Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, notes.
Rachel Simon, a librar­i­an at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, does research on Jews in the mod­ern Mid­dle East and North Africa, with spe­cial ref­er­ence to Libya, Ottoman Empire, women, and education.

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