JERUSALEM (May. 25)
The release of 11 imprisoned Syrian Jews last week coincided with a rising tide of protests all over the world on behalf of Syria’s 4500 strong Jewish community and demands for the release of four more Jewish prisoners, including Albert Elias, the kidnaped former head of the Jewish community in Beirut, Lebanon. Local members of the World Committee for Syrian Jews, which is headed by Alain Poher, president of the French Senate, summarized the worldwide activities aimed at ending the persecution of Syrian Jews and the full restoration of their civil rights.
In London, the Minister of State for the Foreign Office, Joseph Godber, said in reply to a question in the House of Commons that his government was attentive to the plight of Syrian Jews. Some members of parliament joined members of the Board of Deputies of British Jews keeping an all night vigil outside of the Syrian Embassy.
The Syrian Embassy and the Syrian Airline office in Rome was picketed and thousands of handbills were distributed. A kiosk was set up in the Piazza Navone where passers-by were asked to sign a petition for Syrian Jews to be sent to President Hafez Assad in Damascus. Twelve newspapers carried articles on the plight of Syrian Jews and telegrams were sent to President Assad by the Italian League for Human Rights.
PETITION. CABLES SENT TO DAMASCUS
The Egyptian Embassy in Stockholm was picketed and the Goteborg newspaper, Goteborg Handels, published an article under the caption, “Even the Right To Cry Is Denied Syrian Jews.” Amnesty International in Sweden and the Stockholm Committee for Jews in Arab Lands sent protest telegrams to Damascus, In Helsinki, well known Finnish personalities sent protests to Assad and to the United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim.
In Caracas, the chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee, who is president of the Venezuelan Committee for Syrian Jews, announced that his government has instructed its representatives to international organizations and its Ambassador in Damascus to act on behalf of Syrian Jews. The Arch bishop of Venezuela, Cardinal Kittner, learned of the condition of Syrian Jews at a meeting with representatives of the Jewish community, according to the Catholic newspaper. La Religion.
In Montevideo, the Uruguayan Committee for Arab Jewry sent a protest cable to Assad. In Oslo, scores of Norwegians signed a petition to Assad urging the release of Jewish prisoners and permission for Syrian Jews to go to Israel.