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Harassment of Damascus Jews Worsens. Eye-witness Reports

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A tourist who visited Damascus several days ago reported here today that three Jews were arrested there recently and that the persecution, harassment and extortion of Damascus Jews has intensified. The tourist identified the arrested Jews, all heads of families, as Avraham Shou; Joseph Shevut and Nissim Kafif.

He said they were arrested because the authorities suspect that several young members of their families have fled Syria. He said that the Jews, who are confined to a single quarter of Damascus, are forced to form on the street for roll-calls at least once a week to ascertain whether any members of their families are missing. The informant said the rolls-calls are accompanied by beatings and mistreatment of women and children.

He said that Jewish shops in Damascus are on the lists of Arab terrorist organizations. They are frequently visited by terrorists who force the shop owners to contribute part of their income for terrorist activities. If the cash on hand is not sufficient, the terrorists visit the owners’ homes to demand a supplement, the tourist reported. He said Jewish religious life in Damascus is limited to occasional evenings when synagogues are open. He said Jewish families stay in their homes most of the time for fear of reprisals for the flight of young Jews from Syria.

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