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.
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 also made Israel an ideal destination for voluntary Jewish immigration.
UN recognition of Refugee status
The status of refugee is defined by the 1951 UN convention, except for Palestinian refugees defined by the 1949 UNRWA convention. Since their creation, neither convention has recognized the status of refugee to Jewish displaced persons.
Partial list 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 lost.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion for all Jews from England. The policy was reversed after 350 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 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.
- 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 culminated in the Holocaust of the European Jewry. The British Mandate of Palestine prohibited Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel. The Bermuda Conference, Evian Conference and other attempts failed to resolve the problem of Jewish refugees, a fact widely used in Nazi propaganda (see also S.S. 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 lands. The combined population of Jewish communities in the Greater Middle East (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 had no assistance from the UNRWA. See also Farhud.
- State-sponsored persecution in the Soviet Union prompted more than 1 million Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel, 250,000 to the United States with "refugee" status, and 100,000 to Germany. 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.
- Jewish diaspora
- 1929 Hebron massacre
- Evacuation of Jews in Gaza, 1929
- Jewish exodus from Arab lands
- Jewish history
- the Holocaust
- Population transfer
- 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