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Israel Rejects Rumanian Charges; Asks Unrestricted Emigration

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The Israel Government has bluntly rejected Rumanian charges that “thousands” of Jews of Rumanian origin are being prevented by Israel from returning to Rumania, and that a campaign of incitement against Rumania is being carried on in the Jewish State.

This was revealed here today in the Israel Parliament by Premier Moshe Sharett, who said that the reply sent by the Israel Government to the Government of Rumania termed these charges–contained in a Rumanian note of June 4 –“devoid of adequate foundation in fact.”

The Israeli reply described as “unconvincing” the Rumanian explanation that the more than 100 Jews condemned to long prison terms in Rumania were guilty of espionage. This claim is “unacceptable” to worldwide Jewish opinion, the Israeli note said, asserting that the character of the convicted men and women–who devoted themselves to the ideal of Jewish Statehood in the historic Jewish homeland–completely invalidates the accusation of espionage.

The Premier informed Parliament that Rumania had been told that the Israel Government was unable to infringe upon the principle of freedom of thought and expression upon which the State of Israel is based to suppress spontaneous popular manifestations of national Jewish solidarity with the convicted Rumanian Jewish leaders. Such popular expressions do not interfere with the generally accepted procedure of correct international affairs, Israel stressed.

In its reply, the Israel Government reaffirmed its desire to maintain and develop friendly relations with Rumania. In the view of the Israel Government, it added, the release of the Jewish prisoners and allowing them to proceed to Israel would greatly enhance relations between the two countries. The Israel Government is confident, the note went on, that Rumania would not have reason to regret its generosity and far-sightedness.

In rejecting the Rumanian charges that the Israel Government had prevented thousands of Jews of Rumanian origin from returning to that land, Mr. Sharett told the House, the Israel note had emphasized that no one had been prevented from leaving. The precise number of those who wanted to leave, the note said, was the number who actually left–238.

On the other hand, Israel underlined, tens of thousands of Rumanian Jews have applied to the Rumanian Government for permission to immigrate to Israel, but that wish has not been granted. The Israel Government again appealed to Rumania to permit the emigration of Israel-bound Jews, Mr. Sharett revealed. The Israel note concluded with the statement that “the news of the re-opening of the Rumanian gates for those who are anxious to immigrate to Israel would evoke a most appreciative reaction in Israel and would reverberate throughout the Jewish world.”

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