Jewish refugees left $150 billion in Middle Eastern countries, Israel estimates

Sum, which is not adjusted for inflation, could serve as basis for future reparation demands

Iraqi Jews arrive in Israel's Lod Airport on May 1, 1950. (GPO / BRAUNER TEDDY)
Iraqi Jews arrive in Israel's Lod Airport on May 1, 1950. (GPO / BRAUNER TEDDY)

Jews fleeing Iran and the Arab world in the decades following the establishment of Israel left behind approximately $150 billion worth of property, according to an internal government analysis.

The figures cited by the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom are significantly lower than those from news reports earlier this year claiming that Israel was preparing to demand $250 billion in reparations from Arab states.

Some 850,000 Jews were forced to flee their homes in Arab countries across the Middle East in the days leading up to and following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Billions of dollars worth of property was confiscated, severe restrictions were placed on the Jews and some were executed.

In 2010, the Knesset passed a law requiring reparations to be part of any peace deal signed between Israel and an Arab state.

According to the report, which was compiled with input from the National Security Council, fleeing Jews left some $31.3 billion worth of property in Iran, $6.7 billion in Libya and $1.4 billion in Syria. The report did not name other Arab states.

The paper called the estimate “conservative,” and noted that the figure is not adjusted for inflation. A rough estimate comes up with a 2019 value of some $1.5 trillion, or about half the GDP of the entire Middle East.

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