Morocco and Tunisia Evoke Jewish Concern; Joined the Arab League

Jewish organizations here expressed concern today over the news that Tunisia and Morocco have joined the Arab League. A report that they had been admitted to the League was published here this morning.

The concern expressed by Jewish leaders here was on two counts: Firstly, it was feared that with entrance into the Arab League, the two North African countries might impose a complete ban on Jewish emigration to Israel. Secondly, it was feared that Tunisia and Morocco’s joining the Arab League may make the situation of the Jews in these countries as precarious as in other Arab League countries.

There are today 200,000 Jews in Morocco and about 80,000 Jews in Tunisia. Although the Jews in these two countries are receiving relatively fair treatment now, the concern exists here lest Nasser, who dominates the Arab League, will convince the governments of these countries to treat their Jewish nationals in the same way as they are treated in Egypt, Syria and the other Arab countries.

Dr. M. L. Perlzweig, director of the World Jewish Congress’ international affairs department, who recently visited North Africa, reported today that the political life of the whole region was dominated by an intensive Arab nationalism which tended to express itself in regimes controlled by a single nationalist party. “One result had been the adhesion of new states to the Arab League, In spite of the reluctance of leaders who had no illusions on the threat of Nasserism to their own independence,” he told a meeting of the WJC executive here. “Another was the pressure on minorities to abandon their distinctive cultural and social institutions and traditions in favor of total assimilation in these fields.

“The Jews were in effect being urged to reduce Judaism from a way of life to a sectarian cult limited to the synagogue,” he continued. “And with the denial of the historic position of Jewish communities inevitably went a demand to abandon emigration to Israel. The World Jewish Congress was seeking satisfactory solutions to the problems, as yet unsolved, which this situation had created,” Dr. Perlzweig said. “The statesmen in these countries, with whom the WJC has had long standing and friendly relations, had repeatedly affirmed their support of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this basis discussions are now taking place.”

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