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Ort Congress in Geneva Hears Report on Jewish Situation in Iran

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A report on the situation of the 80,000 Jews in Iran, emphasizing the acute need for vocational training of the type offered by the schools conducted in that country by ORT, was given here today at the 75th anniversary congress of the World ORT Union. The report was made by M. Mossanem, of Teheran, vice-president of ORT in his country.

Half of the country’s total Jewish population lives in the capital, M. Mossanem reported, and about 50 percent of the Jews “state acute poverty.” About 45 percent of the remainder “just subsist,” he declared, and only five percent “live comfortably.” The speaker listed 10 Jewish families as “wealthy.”

While all Jewish children start their public school education at the age of 7, Mr. Mossanem said, 40 percent of them leave school after only four years, 30 percent never go beyond the primary grade. Of those who go on to secondary school education, only five percent continue to university or travel abroad for higher education. Thus, Mr. Mossanem told the congress, the need is great among Persian Jewry for “more schools, more new machines for vocational training, more teachers and greater financial help.”

Israel has failed to prepare Persian Jews emigrating to Israel for a new life in that country, Mr. Mossanem charged. “Emigration from our country to Israel, which had aroused great expectations, led to even greater disappointments because Israel officials had not prepared the Persian Jewish migrants for manual work.”

Leaders of Iranian Jewry had made efforts, according to Mr. Mossanem, to prepare the Jewish emigrants for their new life in Israel. ORT work in Iran, he stated, involves not only professional and vocational education but also the building of morale among the Jews, preparing the people to adapt themselves to new conditions.

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