GENEVA (Aug. 21)
A report on the situation of the Jews in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria was submitted here today at the session of the World Jewish Congress executive which is attended by more than 100 leaders from Jewish communities in various lands.
The report, prepared by Alex Easterman and Dr, Maurice Perlzweig, the political directors of the World Jewish Congress, paid tribute to Tunisia’s President Habib Bourguiba. It stated Mr. Bourguiba “always exhibited a desire to understand the problems and traditional abjuration of the Jews, within the framework of the lay Moslem State.” It also asserted that, under the presidency of Mr. Bourguiba, “the Jewish community of Tunisia has not suffered any discrimination, diminution or restriction of its freedom to care for its Jewish interests and welfare, and to maintain its various institutions.”
Tunisian Jews, stated the report, have civic and national obligations, in accordance with the democratic principles and practice. President Bourguiba, declared the rapporteurs, has not waived these principles, having repeatedly told representatives of the World Jewish Congress of his adherence to the principle that Jews in Tunisia will suffer “no discrimination in any sphere of the national life of the country.”
The report also dealt with Mr. Bourguiba’s recent, unexpectedly outspoken statement at the United Nations, expressing hostility toward Israel. It is believed, stated the report, that the Tunisian President had taken a political line, “not always in accord with his stated principles.” (Last week Tunisia severed postal connections with Israel.)
Referring to other North African countries, the report expressed its “concern” with the situation of the Jews in Algeria and Morocco. In Morocco, the report declared, Jews have been permitted to enjoy equal civic rights “to a certain degree,” but still suffer from the serious hardship of not being permitted to join their relatives abroad.
In Algeria, the rapporteurs declared, the Jewish community, which is diminishing rapidly, lives in an atmosphere of “intense and increasing anxiety” as to the future of Algerian Jewry, in the event, as seems likely now, of an early French decision to concede the establishment of an Algerian state. The present position and future political status of Algeria, states the report, still remain difficult and uncertain in the light of the recent failure of the negotiations between the French and the Algerian nationalists.
Reporting on the participation of the World Jewish Congress in the finding and prosecution of Nazi war criminals, Dr. Nehemia Robinson of New York said that the WJC has aided the investigation of more than 70 separate war-crime cases, and has furnished hundreds of witnesses in trials of former Nazi criminals held by West German courts. The WJC said Dr. Robinson, has also furnished West Germany with documentation and information about many war criminals as yet untried. Because these cases are still under investigation, he declined to reveal either the names of the persons involved or their number.