JERUSALEM (Jul. 2)
Supreme Court Judge Haim Cohen, who will head the Israeli delegation to the International Conference for Deliverance of Jews in the Middle East which opens in Paris tomorrow, said here yesterday that this was the last hour to save Syrian Jewry. Cohen, chairman of the Public Committee for Jews in Arab Countries, said he would use the opportunity of the Paris forum to draw world attention to the plight of Jews in Syria, who he said “have reached the limits” of their endurance. “Prospects for official exit visas are slim,” Cohen said. “Perhaps with the disengagement agreement, the Syrian government will be somewhat more open to public opinion on this issue.”
Delegates from some 30 nations are expected to attend the conference which is being held in an attempt to gain the release of Jewish minorities being held as hostages by Arab nations. They will hear first-hand accounts on the persecution of Jews in Syria where two young Jews were killed last year and four young Jewish women were murdered while trying to escape into Lebanon. Special attention will be given to the case of two Jews, Josef Shalouh and Azour Zalta, believed to have been falsely accused of murdering the women.
The conference will also attempt to shed light on the disappearance of 18 Iraqi Jews who were arrested in 1972 and have not been heard from since. Alain Poher, President of the French Senate, will preside over the conference which will also be attended by representatives of major human rights leagues and humanitarian organizations.