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.