ROME (Nov. 12)
The Italian Jewish community has urged major Jewish organizations to have “second thoughts” about a proposed plan aimed at reducing the high rate of drop-outs — Jews leaving the Soviet Union who opt to go to countries other than Israel.
The Board of Deputies of Italian Jews, the umbrella organization of Jewish communities, has directed its plea to the Council of Jewish Federations (CJF) currently holding its annual assembly in Detroit, the Jewish Agency, the World Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and HIAS. It is opposed to the plan — on the agenda of the CJF meeting in Detroit — to substitute Naples for Vienna as the transit point for Jews leaving the USSR. The Italian Jewish community expressed regret that it was not consulted on the issue and stressed that the Naples plan could have grave and dangerous consequences for those Jewish emigres left behind without the assistance given them until now by international Jewish organizations.
The Naples plan is favored by the Jewish Agency because ostensibly it would allow its emissaries more time to persuade the emigres to go to Israel rather than to the U.S. or other Western countries. The Austrian government allow Jews in transit from the Soviet Union only 24 hours in Vienna.