Tekoah Raps Ussr. Syria, for Repression of Jewish Citizens

Israel’s Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, made an infrequent speech in a General Assembly committee today to warn the Soviet Union that its new taxes on educated Jewish emigrants constituted “wanton and superfluous obstacles to international coexistence.”

Addressing the Third (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) Committee. which is discussing the elimination of racial discrimination, Tekoah, who was Israel’s ambassador to the USSR during 1964-66, urged the Soviets to realize “the stigma on their country” and to “erase the ignominy of anti-Jewish restrictions.” He rejected “the Soviet argument on the brain-drain” as “irrelevant and inapplicable,” explaining that the USSR “is not one of the needy developing countries” and that Israel offers not “superior financial rewards” but only “a home.”

Tekoah also discussed the “grave situation” of Syrian Jews, who he said “live in constant fear for their lives.” He listed “discriminatory and repressive measures” against them, noting at one point that “the Jewish cemetery of Damascus has been largely destroyed to make room for a highway to the airport,” with no new land allotted for burial. He said Syrian Jews “must bury their dead in the remaining portion of the cemetery by covering old tombs and creating a second layer of graves over them.”

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