When the modern State of Israel was formed, the Mizrahi (“mizrahi” is literally translated “Oriental” or “east”) Jews were evicted from their homes.
For nearly 70 years, the stories of 850,000 Jewish refugees have not been told. Evicted from their homes in communities across the Middle East and North Africa where Jews had lived for over 2,000 years, these families lost everything. Their homes, their possessions, their ancestral heritage, and their religious artifacts – everything had to be left behind.
Beginning in 1948, hundreds of thousands of these refugees fled to the newly formed State of Israel. Some went to the United States or Europe, but it was Israel that opened its doors without hesitation to welcome home the Jewish refugees. Families poured in from Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen.
For example, the Jewish community in Algeria traced its roots back 2,600 years to the destruction of the First Temple. Before World War II, over 120,000 Jews lived in Algeria. Today, not a single Jew remains in the country.
Over 50% of Israeli Jews trace their roots back to these refugees from the Mizrahi Jewish community. This Jewish community is often referred to as the “forgotten refugees.”