Trapped within the law. Will the Kurdish Jews return to their homeland?
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Jews have lived in Iraq and Kurdistan for thousands of years. The vision of the founding of the State of Israel and the emergence of the Nazi ideology in Europe caused that the participation of Jews in social and cultural life and contribution to the development of education and the economy in Iraq ceased to have meaning. The strong influence of Nazi and anti-Zionist ideology led to discrimination and persecution of the Jewish minority in this country. The effect of this was the establishment of laws in the 1950s, which in exchange for permission to travel to Israel deprived Jews of Iraqi citizenship. Nowadays, the legal situation in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan has changed aTher the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Currently, Kurdish law allows the appointment of representatives of ethnic and religious minorities, the creation of a cultural centres and the reconstruction of important places of worship, as well as obtaining compensation for lost property as a result of repression of previous Iraqi governments. However, the Iraqi New Constitution of 2005 and the Act of 2006, superior to Kurdish law, provide the opportunity to return and regain citizenship to those who lost it, but the exception is Jews who renounced their citizenship on the basis of the 1950 and 1952 laws. Despite the still strong ties with Iraq and Arab culture, Jews, especially Israeli, are deprived of the opportunity to return, regain their citizenship and claim their right to lost property.
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