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Justice Ministry Expanding Claims Registry for Jewish Property in
Arab Countries

After decades of delay, the Ministry of Justice is expanding its registry
of property claims by Jews from Arab countries, GLOBES reported. The
ministry’s division for the rights of Jews from Arab countries,
headed by Jean Claude Nidam, plans to launch an active campaign to
register claims and hire additional staff to handle the matter. Officials
are compiling numerous statements about private and communal property left
behind in Arab countries and electronically archiving thousands of forms
filed by immigrants from Arab nations in the 1950s. According to the
Ministry of Justice, “this activity will be expanded further in the
coming year. An advanced computer system and website will be set up,
meetings will be held with community leaders overseas, and media campaigns
will be launched, among other things. To simplify the filing of the claim
forms, the ministry will publish the claim forms on its website in several
languages in the coming days. The ministry will soon hire staff to handle
the many claims applications that are arriving and will arrive.” In
related news, the US House International Relations Subcommittee on the
Middle East and South Asia held last week its first hearing on Jewish
refugees from Arab countries and the looting of their property. The
purpose of the hearing was to put the subject of Jews from Arab countries
on the agenda as a counterweight to the Palestinian demand of the right of
return. At the hearing, World Jewish Congress Secretary General Avi Becker
reiterated the group’s position that there had been an exchange of
populations between Israel and the Arab world. Becker also discussed
former President Bill Clinton’s initiative at the Camp David summit
in July 2000 to establish an international fund to compensate the refugees
on both sides. Estimates of the current value of Jewish property looted
from Iraqi, Syrian, Egyptian, and Lebanese Jews range from $8-$30 billion,
according to GLOBES and the World Organization of Jews from Arab

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