JERUSALEM (Aug. 25)
Foreign Ministry sources said today that Israeli citizens in Czechoslovakia have been free to leave since the Soviet occupation and that many have done so without difficulty. Israel’s interests in Czechoslovakia, with which it has had no diplomatic ties since the June 1967 war, are handled by Sweden. The Swedish Embassy in Tel Aviv reported today that no Israeli citizen had sought Swedish help in Prague. The sources also said that Czech nationals stranded in Israel — Jewish and non-Jewish — were welcome to remain during the crisis, even if their visas have expired, but added that no applications had been received for visa extensions. Israel’s position on the Soviet takeover was contrasted with Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi support of the invasion.
A scheduled weekend meeting at Kfar Massyryk, near Haifa, of stranded Czechs was transformed into a mass demonstration of Israeli solidarity with the Czech cause when 500 Israelis jointed the 60 Czechs at the gathering. The Czechs set up a bureau at Kibbutz Shomrat in western Galilee, another settlement developed by settlers from Czechoslovakia, to facilitate aid to the new refugees. A Jewish Agency absorption department representative promised all Czechs who decided to remain until they could return safely to their homeland that they would be cared for and get housing and jobs if necessary.