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The expulsion of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries *

Jewish refugees at a Ma'abarot transit camp, 1950

The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, or Jewish exodus from Arab countries, was the departure, flight, expulsion, evacuation and migration of 850,000 Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab countries and the Muslim world, a significant part of the Jewish diasporaת mainly from 1948 to the early 1970s – from Tripoi to Cairo, from Damascus to Baghdad. The last major migration wave took place from Iran in 1979–80, as a consequence of the Iranian Revolution.

Until the 1960s, approximately one million Jews lived in Iran and other Arab countries having arrived in the region more than 2,000 years before. Nowadays, it is estimated that only around 15,000 remain, as the majority of the Jewish population in Muslim lands were forced to flee their homes in the years following the establishment of the State of Israel. For over 2,500 years, Jews lived continuously in North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf region the first Jewish population had already settled there at least 1,000 years before the advent of Islam. 

Ruins of the Central Synagogue of Aleppo after the 1947 Aleppo pogrom Public Domain

During various rounds of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, negotiators have overlooked an important element pertaining to the Arab-Israeli conflict – the uprooting of around 850,000 Jews living in Arab countries, the loss of their assets and property, and the difficulties they underwent upon migrating to Israel and their absorption.

Close to half of Israel’s Jewish citizen’s today were born in Arab countries and are descendants of refugees from Arab countries.

Yemenite Jews en route from Aden to Israel, during the Operation Magic Carpet (1949–1950)
Public Domain

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