NEW YORK (Aug. 10)
The 20-year friendship treaty between the Soviet Union and India, disclosed yesterday in a surprise announcement in New Delhi, will not affect the small and dwindling Indian Jewish community, according to Samuel L. Haber, executive vice chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee. “Nothing will happen (to India’s Jews).” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “There is no anti-Semitism in India. There is no ‘Jewish question’ in India.” Haber estimated the number of Indian Jews at 10,000 in a total population of nearly 600 million. He described as probably too high the figure of 15,000 Jews in 1970 indicated by the American Jewish Yearbook. Haber added that 1,000 to 1,500 Jews leave India every year, mostly for Israel, but stressed that their reasons were not connected with anti-Semitism but with a desire to escape poverty and a desire to reunite with their families. Indian Jewry, he said, is “a community in liquidation,” but not because of anti-Jewish measures by the government, Haber noted that the Indian-Pakistani dispute and the mass killings in East Pakistan were having “no effect, visible or invisible” on Jews, as there are only an “infinitesimal” number of them in Pakistan. The American Jewish Yearbook gives a 1970 figure of 250 Jews in a Pakistani population of nearly 112 million.