JERUSALEM (Aug. 25)
Discussion of the pressing problem of the immigration of North African Jews to Israel continued to occupy the attention of the Zionist Actions Committee session here, as various North African leaders themselves began presenting the case for immediate full-scale transport of Jews from those riot-ridden areas.
Andre Blumel, president of the French Zionist Federation, pointed out that while the numerous declarations by the French Government that Moroccan Jews would be protected, will be honored, the situation remained perilous, and Israel must do her best to facilitate immigration from North Africa. Moroccan and Tunisian Jews, he said were threatened economically. He also pointed out that since the Jews side with the French, their security cannot be effectively guaranteed.
M. Blumel appealed to the Actions Committee to remove all stumbling blocks in the way of large-scale immigration “When the new Tunis an Government is formed in a few weeks,” the French leader declared. “it is possible that certain technical difficulties in the way of emigration may be eliminated But let us act today, for tomorrow may be too late.”
DELEGATES FROM MOROCCO, TUNIS AND ALGERIA STRESS URGENCY
A. Sabah, vice chairman of the Zionist Federation of Morocco, told the Committee that the Moroccans have been struggling for 15 years for their national independence, be that the Jews of Morocco had taken no part in that struggle. Some Moroccan leaders, he reported, have said that Jews would retain their liberties in a future Moroccan state, and others had said they would be permitted to emigrate freely–but without being allowed to take their property.
In any event, he continued, many Jews had already been deprived of their livelihood having been replaced by Arab tradesmen. The Jews of Morocco, said M. Sabah, are living in a state of unrest because the antagonisms which had been smoldering for years had now broken out in full force. He concluded with an appeal for saving the lives of 100,000 Jews in Morocco who are willing to come to Israel.
The head of the Zionist Federation of Algeria, S. Narboni, warned the Actions Committee that greater efforts must be made to ensure the emigration of Algerian Jews before danger strikes. He was followed by M. Blitti, chairman of the Tunisian Zionist Federation, who described the situation in Tunis as one of chaos and disorder, in which the Jews are the first victims. He stressed that economic suffering had already been visited on them and that Jewish youth was being barred from leading a productive life in many economic areas.
The situation, M. Blitti continued, appeared to be hopeless, as fanatacism and totalitarianism were on the march in the Arab countries. The situation was particularly tragic, he continued, for the Jewish middle class in those countries. “Everything possible must be done to evacuate Jews from those areas, even if logic appears to be against such an operation,” he said. He concluded by asking for the establishment of a special North African office within the Jewish Agency and for the relaxation of medical standards in order that greater numbers might be rescued immediately.
Other speakers, including Itzhak Tabenkin, Mapam leader and a member of the executive committee of the Histadrut, made an impassioned plea to the Actions Committee for unlimited funds for the rescue of North African Jewry. Abraham Harzfeld, a member of the Actions Committee, voiced an appeal to Jews all over the world, and especially in Israel to lend a hand in increasing immigration of North African Jews to Israel and not to retreat from the economic hardships such an influx might bring.