Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – welcomed the statement of the Government of Iraq, made through its Ambassador in Washington, DC, of its intention to “extend the period which the [Iraqi Jewish Archive] Exhibit may remain in the United States.”
The Archive, documenting 2,600 years of a Jewish Iraqi history, contains more than 2,700 books and other Jewish artifacts seized from oppressed Iraqi Jews and their institutions by the Saddam Hussein regime during the 1970s and 1980s. Sent to Washington, D.C. for restoration and recently on display at the National Archives in Washington and the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, the Archive was scheduled to be returned to Iraq in June 2014 if no extension agreement was reached between the U.S. and Iraqi governments.
Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s executive director for public policy, issued the following statement today in response to the Iraqi Ambassador’s announcement:
“We welcome the statement of Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Lukman Faily indicating that, pending technical details being finalized in the coming days, most of the materials associated with the Iraqi Jewish Archives will remain in the United States for a further period of time. ”