12 May 2021

Real Estate


Although the bigger issues headlining the current dispute at Sheikh Jarrah (Shimon Hatzadik) and the Temple Mount are about nationalism and religion, the immediate impetus for the crisis comes out of the little understood Absentee Assets Law.  

How did this law come about historically, what does it mean today and why does it seem to favor Jews over Arabs?

The above is  a quote from the Jerusalem Post.

Good question.

After decades of compromise offers that the Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected, the UN voted to partition the land in November 1947. Again the Arabs refused and vowed to kill all the Jews if a Jewish state was established. They, along with the rest of the Arab world made good on their promise but failed in their attempt to complete genocide on their Jewish neighbors. The "local" Palestinians were led by the Husseini family. Amin Husseini the patriarch, was an honored  SS general  ally of Hitler along  with the rest of his family and supporters. This was the local Arab leadership. Arafat said that Husseini was the "father and inspiration of the Palestinian people.”

There was much death, suffering and dislocation in the 1948 war launched against the tiny Jewish community  of Eretz Yisroel.

 After more than  a year of bloody conflict the would be victims of  Arab genocide won the contest.

One of the results of the war was the expulsion of many Jews  from their homes by the invaders. These Jewish properties were seized by the Arabs (Jordanian) . The Jordanians gave these properties to local Arabs.

On the other side, Arab properties were also abandoned during the fighting. Jews who lost their homes during the war were housed in these  properties abandoned by the Arab aggressors. Some of the abandoned enemy property was also used to house Jews fleeing for their lives from Arab countries.

This is the dramatic historic background to what may be presented  as a simple real estate dispute today.

It is argued  by the Arabs and the Israel Left that if Jews can reclaim property then so can Arabs.

It works both ways or no way.

In the second world war Germany and Japan invaded many countries and repressed many peoples. Both ethnic Germans and ethnic Japanese  had lived in some of these occupied countries for centuries. In most cases the ethnics were given preferential treatment by the invaders  and in turn supported them. When the invaders were driven out  many millions of ethnic Germans and Japanese were kicked out with them. They were no longer welcome after the terrible war time experience of these countries. They lost their homes.

These displaced populations are happy to be alive in Germany and Japan. They do not engage in terror, demanding a return to their pre-war homes. They do not teach multi-generational hate. They do not live as victims, constantly seeking revenge.They do not even appeal to the courts for their  lost properties. They understand that when you lose  a war  - you lose.

They don't dream of a second chance.

There is a price for being on the side of the bad guys and losing.

This will not appear on Facebook . I am banned.

Shalom Pollack is a tour guide, filmmaker and writer in Jerusalem

He is writing a book, " Despite ourselves"


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