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Part of Jewish history
In the course of history, Jewish populations have been expelled or ostracised by various local authorities and have sought asylum from antisemitism numerous times. The articles History of antisemitism and Timeline of antisemitism contain more detailed chronology of anti-Jewish hostilities, while Jewish history and Timeline of Jewish history outline the broader picture.
The status of refugee is defined by the 1951 UN convention, except for Palestinian refugees defined by the 1949 UNRWA convention and which includes all "people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict."
After its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel adopted the 1950 Law of Return making Israel a home not only for the inhabitants of the State, but also for all members of the Jewish people everywhere. This law was intended to encourage Jewish immigration to Israel. After 1970 the Jackson–Vanik amendment accorded those Jewish emigrants from the Soviet block countries who desired to enter the United States the refugee status combined with federal assistance in the initial stages of their resettlement.
Timeline of events that prompted major streams of Jewish refugees
- 722 BCE
- The Assyrians led by Shalmaneser conquered the (Northern) Kingdom of Israel and sent the Israelites into captivity at Khorasan. Ten of twelve Tribes of Israel are considered lost; but these tribes are not considered Jewish, rather than Samaritan. These tribes have been living since then near the city of Nablus in what is today the West Bank.
- 597 BCE
- The Babylonian captivity. In 537 BCE the Persians, who conquered Babylon two years earlier, allowed Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple.
- The defeat of the Great Jewish Revolt. Masses of Jews were sold to slavery across the Roman Empire, many fled.
- Large Jewish communities of Cyprus, Cyrene and Alexandria become extinct after the Jewish defeat in Kitos War against Rome. This event caused a major demographic shift in the Levant and North Africa. According to Eusebius of Caesarea the outbreak of violence left Libya depopulated to such an extent that a few years later new colonies had to be established there by the emperor Hadrian just to maintain the viability of continued settlement.
- The Romans defeated Bar Kokhba's revolt. Emperor Hadrian expelled hundreds of thousands Jews from Judea, wiped the name off the maps, replaced it with Syria Palaestina, forbade Jews to set foot in Jerusalem.
- The entire Jewish population of Galilee is massacred or expelled, following the Jewish rebellion against Byzantium.
- 7th century
- Muhammad expelled Jewish tribes Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir from Medina, which was founded as a Jewish city. The Banu Qurayza tribe was slaughtered and the Jewish settlement of Khaybar was ransacked. All three tribes previously had a peace treaty with Muhammad, but they broke the treaty and sided with the opposition. The Banu Qurayza, not only sided with the opposing leaders (The Quraish) but they also waged war against Muhammad.
- 1095 - mid-13th century
- The waves of Crusades destroyed hundreds of Jewish communities in Europe and in the Middle East, including Jerusalem.
- Mid-12th century
- The invasion of Almohades brought to end the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Among other refugees was Maimonides, who fled to Morocco, then Egypt, then Eretz Israel.
- 12th-14th centuries
- France. The practice of expelling the Jews accompanied by confiscation of their property, followed by temporary readmissions for ransom, was used to enrich the crown: expulsions from Paris by Philip Augustus in 1182, from France by Louis IX in 1254, by Charles IV in 1322, by Charles V in 1359, by Charles VI in 1394.
- 13th century
- The influential philosopher and logician Ramon Llull (1232-1315) called for expulsion of all Jews who would refuse conversion to Christianity. Some scholars regard Llull's as the first comprehensive articulation, in the Christian West, of an expulsionist policy regarding Jews.
- King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion for all Jews from England. The policy was reversed after 365 years in 1655 by Oliver Cromwell.
- European Jews were blamed for poisoning wells during the Black Death. Many of those who survived the epidemic and pogroms were either expelled or fled.
- Ferdinand II and Isabella I issued the Alhambra decree, General Edict on the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (approx. 200,000), from Sicily (1493, approx. 37,000), from Portugal (1496) from Calabria Italy 1554. It is important to note that this event happened on Tisha B'Av, as with many other events in Jewish history.
- The fall of the Dutch colony of Recife in Brazil to the Portuguese prompted the first group of Jews to flee to North America.
- Ukrainian Cossacks and peasants led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky destroyed hundreds of Jewish communities and committed mass atrocities. Ukraine was annexed by the Russian Empire, where officially no Jews were allowed.
- The reforms of Frederick II, Joseph II and Maria Theresa sent masses of impoverished German and Austrian Jews east. See also: Schutzjude.
- 1881–1884, 1903–1906, 1914–1921
- Repeated waves of pogroms swept Russia, propelling mass Jewish emigration (more than 2 million Russian Jews emigrated in the period 1881-1920). During World War I, some 250,000 Jews were transferred from western Russia. See also Pale of Settlement, May Laws, Russian Civil War.
- The German Nazi persecution started with the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in 1933, reached a first climax during the Kristallnacht in 1938 and culminated in the Holocaust of the European Jewry. The British Mandate of Palestine prohibited Jewish emigration to the Land of Israel. The 1938 Evian Conference, the 1943 Bermuda Conference and other attempts failed to resolve the problem of Jewish refugees, a fact widely used in Nazi propaganda (see also MS St. Louis). Many German and Austrian Jewish refugees from Nazism emigrated to Britain and many fought for Britain in the second World War.
- The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries. The combined population of Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa (excluding Israel) was reduced from about 900,000 in 1948 to less than 8,000 today. Some of these communities were more than 2,500 years old. Israel absorbed approximately 600,000 of these refugees, many of whom were temporarily settled in tent cities called Ma'abarot. They were eventually absorbed into Israeli society, and the last Maabarah was dismantled in 1958. The Jewish refugees from Middle East and North Africa had no assistance from the UNRWA.
- Due to the 1968 Polish political crisis thousands of Jews were forced by the communist authorities to leave Poland. See also rootless cosmopolitan, Doctors' plot, Jackson-Vanik amendment, refusenik, Zionology, Pamyat.
- State-sponsored persecution in the Soviet Union prompted tens of thousands of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel, and some also to the United States with "refugee" status.
- Iranian Jews were persecuted by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- Jewish diaspora
- 1929 Hebron massacre
- Jewish history
- The Holocaust
- Population transfer
- 1948 Palestinian exodus
- Christianity and antisemitism
- Islam and antisemitism
- Arabs and antisemitism
- Underground to Palestine
- Ordinary exile, the story of Austrian Jewish refugees in France and in Belgium
- A Lifes Worth of Living by Lys Anzia. WNN - Women News Network
- : Silent Exodus, a documentary by Pierre Rehov