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World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC)

WORLD ORGANIZATION OF JEWS FROM ARAB COUNTRIES (WOJAC)

International organization created in 1975.

WOJAC's charter states that Jews from Arab lands can and should form a bridge of understanding between the Arab countries and Israel. Its spokesmen stress that United Nations Resolution 242, which spells out "the necessity for a just settlement of the refugee problem," refers to all refugees, Jews and Palestinian Arabs alike; thus the legitimate rights of post-1948 Jewish refugees from Arab countries will be acknowledged. These Jews or their descendants would then be entitled to indemnification for immovable assets they left behind in their former lands.

WOJAC credits the State of Israel for its efforts to absorb the Jews from Arab lands, despite the difficulties and discriminatory policies these refugees encountered, socially and economically, during their integration processes. On the other hand, it claims that, whereas Israel solved the problem of Jewish refugees from Arab lands, the Arab states are to be faulted for failing to rehabilitate the Palestinians after 1948, rendering the latter eternal refugees as well as political pawns in inter-Arab politics.

Until 1992, when Syria finally allowed Syrian Jews to emigrate freely, WOJAC actively supported Israel's and the Jewish Agency's position that the regime permit all Jews who wished to emigrate to do so. This was in accordance with the promise made by the late Syrian president Hafiz al-Asad to thenU.S. president Jimmy Carter at Geneva in 1977.

see also ben-porat, mordechai.

michael m. laskier

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