NEW YORK (Jun. 29)
The 25,000 Jews of the Syrian community in New York City marked the fast day of Shiv’ah Asar b’Tammuz today with special prayers on behalf of the estimated 4000 Jews of Syria who are barred from leaving Syria, it was reported by the Committee for the Rescue of Syrian Jewry.
A proclamation issued by the Rabbinical Council of the Syrian-Sephardic Community of America urged international action to free the Syrian Jews to emigrate and rejoin their families in various parts of the world. The proclamation was issued by Rabbis Abraham Raful, Joseph Hariri and Haim Benoliel. (The 17th day of Tammuz commemorates the breaching of the Jerusalem wall by the Babylonian invaders in 586 B.C.)
Senators George McGovern (D.S.D.) and Hubert Humphrey (D. Minn.) both issued appeals on behalf of Syria’s remnant Jewish community. Sen. McGovern, in a statement issued to mark the special fast day, reiterated an earlier plea to the Syrian government to permit the emigration of that country’s Jewish residents.
Sen. Humphrey called upon President Nixon to have the issue of Syrian Jewry brought before the United Nations. Sen. Humphrey, who is honorary chairman of the committee, reportedly asked Nixon “to pursue actively the other diplomatic channels at his disposal to help procure the right for Syrian and Soviet Jews to emigrate.”
(Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s representative to the United Nations, informed the Security Council yesterday that his country will continue to “pursue its efforts to free the Jews of Syria from oppression.” Ambassador Tekoah made that statement in a letter to Lazar Mojsov, of Yugoslavia, this month’s President of the Security Council.
The letter was in response to one sent to the Security Council by the Syrian Ambassador June 13 complaining about mounting international indignation at Syria’s treatment of its Jewish min ority. “As understandable as the Syrian representative’s displeasure with international disapprobation of Syria may be, he can hardly complain of it,” Tekoah wrote. “Only the termination of Jewish persecution could bring about a change in the international attitude,” he said. According to Ambassador Tekoah’s letter, “The Jews of Syria live in constant fear for their lives. They are subjected to frequent violence by the authorities and by the Arab population, thrown into jail for trying to escape, their men brutalized, their womenfolk molested.”)