NEW YORK (Mar. 31)
New atrocities against Jews in Syria were reported here this weekend. It was disclosed that Syrian authorities handed over to the Jewish community in Damascus the bodies of two young Syrian Jews reportedly found near the Lebanese border close to where the four Jewish women who were murdered were reportedly found. The bodies of the two young Jews were handed over five weeks ago, according to informed sources here, but news of this did not reach the western world until now.
The two were identified as Natan Shiai, 18 and Kassem Abadi, 20. Shiai and Abadi were understood to have left their Damascus homes about six months ago, reportedly in an attempt to escape from Syria via Lebanon and had not been heard from until their bodies were handed over to Jewish leaders in Damascus. The transfer was made about a week after the funerals of the four slain Jewish women. In both cases–the four women and the two men–informed sources continued to express skepticism that they were slain outside Damascus. They continued to express belief that the six victims were killed in Damascus and that their bodies were taken to the area near the Lebanese border where they were “found” by Syrian authorities.
The sources also reported that three Syrian Jews have been held by Syrian authorities since Sept. 1971. One was identified as Albert Aliyah and the other two were identified only by their surnames as Sweid and Katari.
PROTESTS MOUNTED BY TWO GROUPS
Meanwhile, the New York Board of Rabbis expressed shock at the continuing terror “encompassing the economic, cultural and religious areas of life” of the Jewish community. Focusing on the “rape and torturing to death” of the four Jewish women–the three Zeybak sisters. Tonei, 22, Laura. 23 and Farah. 24, and Eva Saad–Rabbi Sol Roth, president of the Board, declared; “Fear mounts that this outrage may herald a renewal of killing and persecution which has frequently marred the recent history of Syria. We call upon the world to bring pressure to bear on the Syrian government to grant those who want to leave the right of emigration.”
At the same time. Abner J. Mikva, chairman of the Chicago Committee of Concern, accused the Syrian government of being responsible for an “act of barbarism” in the murder of the four Jewish women. Addressing an emergency meeting of the Committee, Mikva called for “renewed efforts on the part of all concerned Americans on behalf of the captive Syrian Jewish community.” He added: “While the Syrian government has denied responsibility for this act of barbarism, the blame for the murders must be laid at the government’s doorstep. In light of these tragic events, it is imperative that renewed protests be made to the Syrian President and (the Syrian) Ambassador to the United Nations.”