Jews in Morocco Disturbed over Bitter Attack on Jewish Community

Jews in Morocco were reported here today as being greatly worried over a bitter attack launched yesterday against the Jewish community there by the Istiqlal Party, the dominant party in the government. The attack was made in the Istiqlal newspaper Al Alam, which charged the Jewish communities with sending a delegation to the World Jewish Congress parley held last week in Geneva.

The paper, which often reflects the government’s view, said that the delegation was headed by David Amar, secretary-general of the Council of Moroccan Jewish Communities. It presented the World Jewish Congress as a “Zionist” body, and said that reports of the Geneva meeting were distributed “clandestinely” to Jews throughout Morocco.

The article was interpreted in Paris today as indicating that new anti-Jewish measures may be contemplated in Morocco. Le Figaro, a leading Paris newspaper, said that, should it be proven that Moroccan Jews, “even in a private capacity and without official mandate,” attended the parley, the situation of Morocco’s remaining 160, 000 Jews would become serious, with unpredictable consequences.

LEADER OF MOROCCAN JEWISH COMMUNITIES VEHEMENTLY DENIES CHARGES

The Paris daily reported from Morocco that large sectors of the Moroccan Jewish community had joined in the criticism of Mr. Amar, asserting he had no right to expose them to difficulties by attending the Geneva conference or by sending other delegates. Mr. Amar has vehemently denied that he was in Geneva. It was suggested that a misunderstanding might have developed from the fact that, while he was not in Geneva at the time, some World Jewish Congress publications listed him as an observer.

The Paris daily expressed the belief that, when King Hassan II returns from the conference of neutral countries in Belgrade, he would investigate the matter and that, if he found that Amar’s contention of not attending the Geneva conference was correct, the whole matter would be dropped. However, the daily added, if the King accepts the Istiqlal thesis that even the presence of “observers” is the Jewish community’s responsibility, then the situation of the Jews of Morocco would be seriously affected.

In attacking the alleged participation of Moroccan Jews in the World Jewish Congress conference, the official organ of the Istiqlal Party requested “merciless sanctions” and said: “If the elected leaders of the Jewish community have failed in their duties as Moroccan citizens and prefer to serve Zionist doctrine and Israel, this means that the persons they represent are deliberately and consciously hostile to national Moroccan policy.”

The denunciation by Al Alam came as an unexpected blow since, in recent weeks, there had been reports that the Government had decided to implement the policy of liberalizing Morocco’s attitude toward Moroccan Jews promulgated by the late King Mohammed V shortly before his death.

The Central Statistics Service of the Moroccan Government published this week the results of the 1960 census of the population showing that there are now 159, 803 Jews in Morocco. Of these, 151,245 live in 117 urban centers and the remainder in rural areas. The five largest Jewish communities are: Casablanca with 70, 026 Jews; Rabat with 11, 008 Jews, Marrakesh with 10, 007 Jews, Meknes with 10, 894 Jews and 87, 032 Jews in Fez. There are also 6,232 Jews in Tangier; 4,103 in Teutan; 3,118 in Sefrou and 2, 917 in Seeaouria, formerly Mogador.

NEXT STORY