Jews in Rhodesia Facing Danger

Chief Rabbi Isaac Zwebner, of Rhodesia, said here that the 4000 Jews in that central African country face potential disaster at the hands of anti-Semitic whites and rebellious Blacks, but are too complacent or fearful to heed his warnings that they pull up stake and immigrate to Israel. Rabbi Zwebner, and his wife, Aurelia, recently arrived in Israel to join their four children who have settled here. They said they intend to remain.

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Zwebner described Rhodesia as a powder keg that will inevitably blow up and claimed the Jews there will be the principal victims because they are caught between two opposing forces. He said the white minority that rules the country includes anti-Semites who blame Jews for the “Communist menace” with which they are obsessed, particularly since the left-wing victories in neighboring Angola and Mozambique, two former Portuguese colonies.

He said that in his farewell address to his congregation in Bulawayo he held up a letter addressed to the entire Jewish community bearing the official stamp of the White Peoples’ Party and swastikas. The letter contained quotes from “Mein Kampf” and threats that “Hitler hasn’t yet finished his job.” Zwebner said that swastikas have also appeared lately on Jewish shop windows and cars. “I’m afraid the Jews aren’t aware of the danger or don’t want to think about it.” he said.

Mrs. Zwebner made it clear that the Jews, like the rest of the white minority, lead the good life in Rhodesia and are loathe to give it up. “They are spoiled by luxury and comfort.” she said. The rabbi said the Jews “say they can help Israel best by staying in Rhodesia and giving money, but we told them that is no longer true.”

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