JERUSALEM (Jun. 19)
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said last night that Israel will provide a temporary haven for 66 Vietnamese refugees rescued by the Israeli freighter Yoveli in the South China Sea last week after their craft sank. The authorities in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan have denied them permission to land.
The spokesman stressed that the Israeli refuge would be granted until a permanent home can be found for the refugees. He said Israel was pursuing such a solution through diplomatic contacts with the United States and the United Nations. Its offer to admit the Vietnamese temporarily will be coordinated with the UN Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, he said.
The master of the Yoveli, Capt. Meir Tadmor, reported by wireless telephone today that the physical condition of the refugees is poor and their morale is low. He said that his ship, a 10,000 ton tramp, has no facilities for passengers and expressed fear of illness breaking out during the long voyage. The Yoveli is en-route to Africa from Japan. He said the refugees, who include women and children, expressed the hope of reaching the United States where some said they had relatives.