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Rights of Jews from Arab Lands
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The Government Secretariat

 

 

Government Decision n. 1250, December 28, 2003.

 

"1250

 

  1. Recognition of Rights and Restitution of Jewish Property
  2. Rights of Jews who left Arab Countries as Refugees

 

Deciding (unanimously):

 

A. Recognition of Rights and Restitution of Jewish Property

 

1)      The State of Israel will consolidate a multi-year general policy pertaining to the recognition of rights and restitution of Jewish property in all areas and for all the relevant countries across the world.

 

2)      The State of Israel, along with Jewish organizations, will determine and centralize the different activities and actions pertaining to the recognition of rights and restitution of Jewish private and communal/public property and for the restitution of the property of Jews left as a result of the Holocaust, with or without heirs, and will act within Israel and beyond, in cooperation with other State bodies, institutions abroad, various organizations and Diaspora communities already involved with this issue, the Jewish Agency and government authorities outside of Israel relying, when necessary, on the assistance and cooperation of various Jewish organizations.

 

3)      A ministerial committee will be established to deal with the issue of the recognition of rights and restitution of Jewish property. The ministerial committee will be comprised of: Minister Natan Sharansky (responsible for Jerusalem, social and Diaspora affairs) - chairman, Minister of Justice - member, Minister of Foreign Affairs - member, Minister of Finance – member, Minister of  the Interior – member, Minister of Housing and Absorption - member, Minister Meir Shetreet - member. The chairman of the Jewish Agency will be a permanent guest participant.

 

The functions of the ministerial committee will be to determine a general policy as stated in the above-sections 1 and 2. This general policy will be updated annually and will be considered the principal policy guideline regarding the restitution of Jewish property, subject to the Government's policy and in coordination with the State of Israel's foreign policy. The general policy and the yearly program will be presented to the Government for its implementation.

 

4)       

a.       A steering committee will be established to deal with the matter of the recognition of rights and restitution of Jewish property. The steering committee will be comprised of: A delegate of Minister Natan Sharansky (responsible for Jerusalem, social and Diaspora affairs), a delegate of the Minister of Foreign Affairs - chairman, a delegate of the Ministry of Finance – member, a delegate of the Ministry of Justice - member. The chairman of the Jewish Agency will be a permanent guest participant.

 

b.       The steering committee will be subordinate to the ministerial committee. It will report to the ministerial committee and will be responsible for implementing the assignments determined by the ministerial committee. The steering committee will centralize the handling of the subject and will act in conjunction with international bodies, for the purpose of coordinating a structured and coherent policy for the management of the process – as provided by the governmental decision.

 

5)      The steering committee will submit a report regarding the progress made on the issue of the recognition of rights and restitution of Jewish property within six (6) months and subsequently an annual report. This report will be consolidated and debated by the steering committee and will then be presented before the ministerial committee. The report will detail the activities organized both in Israel and abroad in order to progress on all related issues, and include within its scope the various specific reports submitted by the countries and organizations involved in the subject matter.

 

6)      The ministerial committee and the steering committee will inform all government bodies concerned by this decision and all recognized Jewish organizations that are involved in the subject matter in order to consolidate a uniformed and structured policy to insure the most efficient progress of the process as a whole, as determined by the State of Israel.

 

7)      An appropriate budget will be allocated to implement this governmental decision, as determined by Minister Natan Sharansky (responsible for Jerusalem, social and Diaspora affairs) and others.

 

B. The rights of Jews who left Arab countries as Refugees

 

This Government decision renews the March 3rd 2002 decision number 1544 relating to the "Registration of claims of Jews from Arab Countries" which itself renewed the September 28, 1969 decision number 34 on the subject, and  - coupled with Part A of the current decision - broadens the scope of the two previous government decisions as detailed hereafter.

 

1)      The State of Israel will determine and centralize all activities pertaining to the rights and registration of claims of Jews who left Arab countries as refugees, in Israel and abroad, in cooperation with other State bodies, institutions abroad, various organizations and Diaspora communities already involved with this issue, the Jewish Agency, and government authorities outside of Israel relying, when necessary, on the assistance and cooperation of various Jewish organizations.

 

2)      a) The Department for the Rights of Jews from Arab Countries, under the auspices of the Head of Legal Assistance at the Ministry of Justice, will continue to gather - as it did in the past – data, material, requests and documents on the subject matter. The Department will be responsible for the documentation of private and communal/public property claims as well as of the different violations of the rights of Jews from Arab countries. This will be achieved through combining databases of existing registrations held by various organizations.

 

b) The following steps will be taken in order to create a centralized, coherent, consistent and trustworthy database: The existing collection of documents, which already includes wide-ranging and rich sources of information, will be processed and broadened, providing the basis and the ability to collect information, documentation in different languages, all this based upon the influx of requests which will follow the publicizing of this subject.

 

c) The Ministry of Justice will publicize this issue in several languages, through the different communication media and through the internet, giving it an echo among Jews originating in Arab lands, both in Israel and abroad, and will invite every interested party, including any person possessing relevant information, to come forward and to register his rights, as determined by the past government decisions as well as the current decision.

 

3)      a) A steering committee will be established on the issue of the rights of Jews who left Arab lands as refugees. This steering committee will be comprised of: The Director General of the Ministry of Justice and the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (chairmen), a delegate of Minister Natan Sharansky (responsible for Jerusalem, social and Diaspora affairs) – member, the chairman of the Jewish Agency – member, the Head of Legal Assistance at the Ministry of Justice - coordinator and member of the steering committee.

 

b) The steering committee will be subordinate to the ministerial committee for the recognition of rights and restitution of Jewish property. The steering committee will inform the ministerial committee on developments relating to the subject matter and will perform missions determined and assigned by the ministerial committee according to the government decisions on this matter. The steering committee will centralize the handling on the subject and will act in conjunction with international bodies for the purpose of coordinating a coherent and consistent policy for the management of the process – as provided by the government decision.

 

4)      The handling of the registration and documentation will continue to be centralized at the Ministry of Justice, at the Department for the Rights of Jews from Arab Countries, under the auspices of the Head of Legal Assistance, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the office of Minister Natan Sharansky (responsible for Jerusalem, social and Diaspora affairs), the Jewish Agency, the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC), the delegates of the Jewish communities as well as any other relevant body, according to their areas of knowledge and expertise.

 

5)      The ministerial committee and the steering committee will inform all government bodies concerned by this decision and all recognized Jewish organizations that are involved in the subject matter in order to consolidate a uniformed and structured policy to insure the most efficient progress of the process as a whole, as determined by the State of Israel.

 

6)      An appropriate and distinct budget will be attributed by the Ministry of Finance and allocated to the Ministry of Justice for the purpose of building the necessary human resources, advertisement infrastructure and documentation for the implementation of the governmental decision, as will be coordinated between these Ministries."

 
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