Klutznick WJ Congress Ready to Help Jews Wishing to Leave Iran
Menu JTA Search

Klutznick WJ Congress Ready to Help Jews Wishing to Leave Iran

Download PDF for this date

Philip M. Klutznick, president of the World Jewish Congress, said today that the WJC stands ready to use its wide political connections on behalf of Jews wishing to leave Iran. Addressing a meeting of the WJC’s Israeli Executive here, both he and former WJC president, Dr. Nahum Goldmann expressed dismay that until now most Iranian Jews have chosen to remain in their country desire the turmoil and their infection future.

Goldmann said that Jews do not tend to heed warnings. He said that if European Jews had listened to the warnings of the 1930s, millions would have been alive today. The situation in Iran is very similar, Goldmann said, but Jews there are waiting until the just moment when it may be too late to save themselves.

Klutznick agreed that Iranian Jews seem unaware of the dangers that lie in the present political upheaval, especially those in the smaller, remote communities. In spite of urgent calls and invitations from Israel, Jews do not come to Israel, he said. The Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency have readied the means for transferring Iranian Jews, yet they do not want to leave, Klutznick stated.

He noted that while the WJC is not a rescue organization and lacks the manpower and machinery for a rescue operation, it has access to influential political circles and every channel is open of act on behalf of Iranian Jews. He said he wanted to draw the attention of world Jewry to small Jewish communities scattered around the globe which are forgotten until an emergency arises.

Iranian Jews not only are not leaving for Israel in substantial numbers but some already here are returning, hoping that the new civilian government in Teheran will be able to restore law and order. An El Al plane that left for Teheran this morning carried 80 Iranian Jews. There were some 200 passengers waiting for its return flight to Tel Aviv. But most of them are Israel is who are being evacuated. Solel Boneh, the Histadrut construction company, has suspended its work on three projects in Iran and is bringing home its workers and engineers. Only five supervisors will remain in Iran for the time being to look after the 52 million worth of equipment left behind.


Klutznick and Goldmann also discussed the situation of Soviet Jews. They agreed that signals from Moscow indicate that a larger number of Jews will be given exit permits in the near future Klutznick urged Israelis to begin preparations for their absorption. He described the preparatory work done by the international committee headed by Baron Guy de Rothschild which is dealing with the problems and opportunities Israel will face once peace is concluded with Egypt.

Klutznick said there were amole potentials for trade, especially with the for East and even China should not be excluded from Israel’s future plans (See related story P.3) He observed that the development of Eilat and the Negev would depend on Israel’s trade expansion toward the for East. He urged Israel to shake off the stigma of isolation and take advantage of the wide range of development possibilities.

Dr. Gerhardt Riegner, director general of the WJC, spoke of his recent visit to Latin America. He said there was an erosion of Jewish communal life and activity in Latin American countries and that Jewish schools there do not have enough teachers. He also reported signs of growing anti-Semitism in some parts of the world. He said the resurgence of anti-Semitism on the far right in France was a disturbing phenomenon.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund