PARIS (Jul. 1)
In a wholesale anti-Jewish decree, the Nasser Government has forbidden access to the United Arab Republic to any Jew who ever resided in Syria or Egypt and left those countries, Zachariah Shuster, European director of the American Jewish Committee, told the press here today.
This is the first instance of this kind since the Hitler era, he said. The decree affects citizens of the United States, Britain, France and all other countries whose nationals ever resided in UAR territory, for it applies to all Jews regardless of nationality who left this territory at ages between 10 and 65.
The decree, which singles out Jews as such and openly names anti-Jewish discrimination part of the official Nasser Government policy, is so worded that even tourists spending a short time in the UAR may find themselves on the government’s blacklist of persons never permitted to reenter the UAR. Ethnic and religious discrimination are also incorporated in the UAR nationality bill now being prepared by the UAR Legislature, Mr. Shuster revealed.
The proposed law will worsen the already precarious position of approximately 15,000 Jews remaining in Egypt and the 5,000 to 7,000 in Syria, since it empowers the new UAR Minister of the Interior to withdraw UAR nationality from any subject who has “ever been qualified at any time whatsoever” as a Zionist.
It is obvious that under such a vague provision and with the term “Zionist” never being defined, the Minister of the interior can act against any Jews who are still citizens of the UAR, Mr. Shuster asserted. The proposed law also provides that the Minister of the interior can grant Arab nationality to persons born of a foreign father on Arab territory, on condition that the father came from a land where the majority of the population is Arab and where the religion is Islam. This is clearly discriminatory. Mr. Shuster said.
More than 25,000 Jews quit Egypt since November 1956 in view of the persecutory policies of the Nasser Government. However, until the issuance of this new decree, an attempt was always made to deny and camouflage anti-Jewish measures.