JERUSALEM (Feb. 12)
President Yitzhak Navon issued an impassioned plea yesterday to Iranian Jewry to send at least their children to Israel if they were reluctant to come themselves. “There is a warm home waiting for them here,” Navon said, noting that there are some 20,000 Jewish children estimated to be living in Iran. Navon was speaking at a reception for the World Federation of Polish Jews, currently holding its Fourth Congress in Jerusalem.
To date, some 500 Iranian Jewish children have been sent to Israel during the last several months, and most have been absorbed into youth aliya schools and villages. The head of youth aliya, Yosske Schapira, said yesterday the Iranian youngsters posed no undue problems, being mostly well-behaved and eager to learn.
Some Iranian Jewish families are understood to have dispatched their children to Europe and the United States. Figures of Iranian aliya are not being officially published, but it is understood that several thousand Iranian Jews have come to Israel during the past months, the vast majority of them as tourists and some 1000-odd as immigrants.
Meanwhile, a Solel Boneh — the massive Histadrut building firm — official was cited on Israel Radio yesterday as saying that to his knowledge all Israelis employed on projects in Iran had left the country upon instructions of the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued some three weeks ago.