46,000 out of the 156,000 Israeli Arabs in Israel were considered Present absentees.

They are not permitted to live in the homes they formerly lived in, even if they were in the same area as their home, the property still exists, and they can show that they own it. They are regarded as absent by the Israeli government because they were absent from their homes on a particular day, even if they did not intend to leave them for more than a few days, and even if they left involuntarily.


There is a 6 year-old question: "Why haven't the property of present-absentees not been returned?". The answer to which states:

Today, it is not politically feasible to revisit and try to rescind provisions of these laws. Because if it was not right to confiscate "present absentees" properties, was it right to confiscate "absent absentees" properties?

But if we restrict the compensation to those that hold citizenship, wouldn't we then bypass that dilemma since "absent absentees" generally don't hold citizenship.

Solving "The Israeli Present-Absentee Issue", would give credence to the claim that Israel has equal rights between Jews and Arabs. Which would be beneficial in the apartheid debate.

Why then, is it not politically feasible?

  • There are several assumptions/opinions at the base of your question which are not facts. Eminent domain seizure cases are tried in Israel all the time.
    – littleadv
    Feb 10 at 22:41
  • @littleadv concerning those that happened on 1948 (based on the absentee law)? if yes that would be basis for for a good answer.
    – Ona
    Feb 11 at 1:57
  • Let's do it the other way around. Can you give an example of a case that you think was unjustly dismissed?
    – littleadv
    Feb 11 at 2:18
  • 1
    @littleadv I'm quoting wikipedia here, I would say if you left your house for few days (especially unvoluntarily) and cameback. it's unfair to have your home taken from you. I'm familiar with the argument that the law is not discriminatory, it just so happened to only affect non-jewish citizens. If you believe the claim in Wikipedia didn't happen and you have sources. You can correct the record there.
    – Ona
    Feb 11 at 13:25
  • 1
    There's a lot of things wrong on Wikipedia, that's why I'm asking for an authoritative reference. Do you have an actual court case to present?
    – littleadv
    Feb 11 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


I don't have any specific sources for this, but I think this is likely the issue:

These houses/properties haven't been sitting empty since 1948 - other people have been living there. I'm sure there are examples where people have been born, married, and had their own kids and maybe even grandkids in the house over the last 75 years. There's also unlikely to be many people still alive who directly owned those properties in 1948 - their parents, certainly, but anyone who was 18 then is 93 now so only a small percentage would still be alive. So any proof of ownership most people would have is based on inheriting from their displaced parents (or grandparents).

Given all that, any attempt to return these properties to their original owners would mean displacing a established Israeli family (who may have been living there for multiple decades) in favor of the children or grandchildren of someone who actually lived there, and who likely have never lived there themselves.

Given that background, it should be easy to see why returning these properties wouldn't be considered politically feasible.

None of that addresses the question of compensating the present absentees for their property, but neither the Wikipedia article nor the answer you quoted discuss compensation - only actually returning the property.

  • You're answering the question "why is sky black". But is it?
    – littleadv
    Feb 11 at 18:18

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