PARIS (Jan. 31)
The Government of Morocco issued an order yesterday abolishing exit visas for all citizens, whatever their religion. However, Jewish organizations here today termed this move as”cheap propaganda. ” They pointed out that the action is of no significance to Moroccan Jews wishing to emigrate to Israel as long as they still face difficulties in getting passports.
Jewish leaders here pointed out that the order abolishing exit visas–but not lifting the ban on joining relatives in Israel–was a pure propaganda gesture, made in response to growing indignation in democratic countries over Morocco’s infringement of the basic right of free emigration. The indignation reached a high point following the loss of lives of 43 Moroccan Jews who, in an effort to join their families in Israel, left Morocco “illegally” on a small ship which capsized in a storm near the Moroccan shore.
A statement which does not mention Morocco, but obviously refers to that country, was issued here today by CRIF, the representative Council of Jews in France, deploring “the conditions that have arisen compelling Jews to escape illegally from certain countries.”
The CRIF statement also included a message from Dr. Jacob Kaplan, chief rabbi of France. Dr. Kaplan declared that the tragic recent deaths of the 43 Jews was “a result of the difficult situation in which Jews find themselves in certain countries.”
(In New York, the national executive committee of the Farband-Labor Zionist Organization today adopted a resolution calling upon the State Department to use its good offices to prevail upon the Government of Morocco to change its policy and allow Moroccan Jews to be united with members of their families in Israel.)