Luggage of Moroccan Jews Set Afire; Situation of Emigrants Desperate

The desperate situation of the many thousands of Jews from various parts of Morocco who are now stranded in Casablanca became even more tragic today when a warehouse here in which they had stored their clothing and heavy luggage for transportation to Israel was set afire by unknown people.

The owner of the warehouse received anonymous threats during the last few days ordering him to discontinue accepting luggage from Jews who flocked to Casablanca in the hope of proceeding soon to Israel. The clothing and luggage destroyed in today’s fire leaves thousands of Moroccan Jewish emigrants completely without any belongings–they disposed of their homes and other property prior to leaving for Casablanca.

Moroccan authorities were reported today to have indicated a willingness to permit the emigration of about 4,000 Jews now in a Casablanca emigration camp and other emigration centers. However, even if these emigrants were permitted to leave for Israel, it would not alleviate the tragedy of thousands more who are affected by the ban on emigration to Israel issued last week by the Moroccan Government.

It was learned here today that prior to issuing the ban, the Moroccan Cabinet held two meetings on the matter. During the first meeting the members of the Cabinet were divided, but at the second meeting a decision was taken to halt organized Jewish emigration from the country. Dr. Leon Ben-Zaken, the only Jewish member of the Moroccan Cabinet, was not present at the first meeting. He attended the second meeting, but abstained from the debate.

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