JERUSALEM (Sep. 30)
The Jewish Agency’s acting chairman Leon Dulzin said today that the Agency had no alternative center for Soviet Jewish emigrants should the Austrian authorities shut down the Schoenau Castle. “We do not foresee any alternative and we are not going to discuss any alternative,” Dulzin said at a press conference here following a special session of the Jewish Agency Executive where it heard a report from Yitzhak Patish, Israel’s Ambassador to Austria.
Dulzin said the Jewish Agency joined the Israel government’s demand that Austria rescind its decision, made under Arab terrorist pressure, to close down Schoenau. He expressed hope that Vienna would consider the demands of Israel which, he said, were shared by the entire Jewish people and world public opinion. Earlier he declared: “It is hard to believe that the Austrian government which has earned such great merit in aiding tens of thousands of olim over the past few years, should suddenly decide to take such action under threats from murderous terrorists.”
He conceded, however, that if Schoenau is closed “we will be faced with a most difficult decision.” He said that up to now there has been no word from the Austrian authorities of any immediate plan to close the transit facility. He said Schoenau was continuing to function as usual.
TERROR, BLACKMAIL ENCOURAGED BY DECISION
Dulzin disclosed that 72 emigrants arrived yesterday in Vienna from the Soviet Union, 76 this morning and a similar number this afternoon. “They were treated in the usual manner.” Dulzin said.
Some grounds for optimism appeared to follow Chancellor Bruno Kreisky’s explanation yesterday that Austria would continue to allow emigrants to enter as individuals. “From our point of view, there is no significance to the form of papers the immigrants are holding. They are coming in groups with individual passports and visas for Austria,” Dulzin said.
Moshe Rivlin, director general of the Jewish Agency, said at the press conference that the Austrian transit station was important because it is a natural passage point for immigrants from Russia. “Suppose we give up and move the camp to another country, who would guarantee us that the same thing would not happen there?” Rivlin said.