WASHINGTON (Jan. 15)
Renewal of most favored nation (MFN) trade status for Rumania most likely will be recommended to the United States government by American Jewish groups, Jack Spitzer, president of B’nai B’rith International, said yesterday.
Spitzer and Alfred Moses, vice president of the American Jewish Committee, returned Sunday night from a visit to Rumania where they met with Rumanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen, a U.S. Congressional delegation led by Rep. Carles Vanik (D. Ohio), and other officials to review compliance of the 1979 agreement on Jewish emigration from that Eastern European country.
Spitzer and Moses represented the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations which worked out the agreement last July with Bucharest. As a result of that accord, the Presidents Conference recommended MFN for Rumania.
Spitzer, who described the two days of meetings as “very hectic, very stimulating and very satisfactory,” said he and Moses brought back with them records purporting to support the Rumanian contention that its pledge is being fulfilled.
EBB AND FLOW OF EMIGRATION
During the first six months of 1979, Jewish emigration from Rumania had dropped alarmingly, with only 320 Jews departing for Israel–half the 1978 rate, he noted. Following the meeting between the Presidents Conference officials and Rumanian officials, emigration rose considerably. By year’s end, the total number of Jews leaving climbed to 1100, just under the 1978 total, Spitzer said.
According to Bucharest, there are only some 25,000 Jews remaining in Rumania, although others estimate the figure to be as high as 40,000. Just after World War II, there were about 400,000 Jews there. Since then, the overwhelming majority emigrated to Israel.
During their visit, Spitzer, Moses and Rosen lunched in the kosher kitchen of what had been the B’nai B’rith building in Bucharest prior to World War II. The international Jewish service organization was a strong force in the Jewish community there but was forced to disband during the war and was never revived.