Differing View of Jewish ‘refugees’

A story in the July 11 issue of the Daily News Bulletin from Jerusalem dealing with Soviet Jewish dropouts (P.4) stated that Eli Eyal, a member of the World Zionist Organization Executive, quoted a 1973 opinion prepared by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) contending that Soviet Jewish emigrants who reach Vienna do not have “refugee” status. The story also stated that this opinion is “presumably valid today.”

An authoritative source who today provided the Jewish Telegraphic Agency with a document stressed that it does not bear out Eyal’s statement or that it is “presumably valid today.” The document is a lengthy legal opinion dated March 29, 1974 by Dr. Paul Weis, director of the Legal Division Office of the UNHCR, which ends with the statement:” I have come to the conclusion that Jews from Eastern Europe who are assisted by HIAS are not ordinary emigrants but are to be regarded as refugees.” Furthermore, the JTA was told by the authoritative source that the 1973 opinion cited by Eyal was never officially adopted by the UNHCR.

NEXT STORY