Thant Urged to Aid Syrian Jews

The Committee for Rescue of Syrian Jewry appealed today to United Nations Secretary General U Thant to advise the Syrian government of “mounting international concern” over the plight of the Jewish minority in that country. The appeal was contained in a letter to Thant from Eddie Sitt, president of the committee. The letter said that “world-wide protests on a large scale are to be expected if the Syrian authorities will continue to deny them (the Jews) fundamental freedom and their right to emigrate.” The letter called Thant’s attention to the Syrian government’s failure to fulfill “its 1967 assurances on the treatment and freedom of movement of the Jewish minority” and also noted that the Syrian government has “failed to provide the promised written answer to your Excellency’s Special Representative’s letter on this question.”

Sitt included with his letter “an accurate report on the conditions of the Jewish communities in Syria.” The report stated that the Jewish communities of Damascus (2,000). Aleppo (1,000), and Qamishli (350), are being subjected to various forms of harassment, discrimination and restriction. They are forbidden to move outside 11/2 miles of their homes without special permission. All their identification cards are marked in red ink-”Mousawi” which means “Jew.” Jews are under close surveillance by the secret police. In Qamishli, all Jews must report daily before an officer. Jewish cemeteries have been confiscated by the Syrian authorities, to clear the way for a government compound in Aleppo, and for the new Airport of Damascus.

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