By Daniel Reichel
The Foreign Affairs Commission of the Italian Chamber of Deputies held a meeting last week devoted to the forced displacement of Jews from Arab countries. The story of the many Jewish communities that were forced to leave Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq says a lot about the situation of these countries, where societies tend to be intolerant and where diversity is not perceived as a value.
This issue needs to be kept in mind when politicians speak about hospitality and refugees fleeing violence and coming to Europe especially when the balance between the general society and minorities is discussed, as in the case of the meeting before the Commission.
For the occasion, the representatives of the Italian Jewish world had the chance to participate in the session focusing on the forced exodus (Pagine Ebraiche devoted its special section in the December issue to this topic).
Introducing the meeting was the president of the Commission Fabrizio Cicchitto. The meeting was requested by the Union of Italian Jewish Communities Commission (UCEI) and was included in the survey on the protection of minorities for the maintenance of international peace carried out by the Commission itself.
The first to speak was UCEI president Noemi Di Segni, who recalled the silence which has fallen on the history of the more than 850,000 Jews who were forced to flee from the Maghreb and the Middle East to Israel and the West.
The other speeches were delivered by UCEI Board Members David Meghnagi, who offered a historical background of the exodus, Victor Magiar spoke as well Carolina Del Burgo who is the representative of the Committee of the Jews expelled from Egypt. The president of the Jewish Community of Livorno Victor Mosseri participated too.
Magiar, Del Burgo and Mosseri presented their personal testimonies (they had to flee from Egypt and Libya 50 years ago) and offered proactive proposals on the basis of their own experience as former refugees.
Attending the meeting as observers were the president of the Jewish Community of Rome Ruth Dureghello and the spokesman of the Israeli Embassy in Italy Amit Zarrouk.
By Daniel Reichel