Hundreds of Jews in Far East Seek to Join the Zionist Movement

Hundreds of Jews in the Far East have expressed their wish to join the Zionist movement and to be represented in the next World Zionist Congress in 1982, it was reported here by Miriam Meyouhas of the World Zionist Organization department of organization, who returned from a tour of the area. She said that various Zionist groups are signing up members.

Reporting on various Jewish communities in the Far East, Meyouhas said the Jewish community in Thailand comprises 80 families, some 300 persons, all residing in Bangkok. Ten of the families were born in the country and hold Thai citizenship. The other families are either aliens who have lived there for many years or temporary residents who reside in the country for brief periods of time. The community operates a large communal center in downtown Bangkok. It includes a synagogue, classrooms, a library and an apartment for guests from overseas.

Some 300 Jews live in the Philippines, most of them of East European origin, Meyouhas said. The community operates a synagogue and a Sunday school with 30 students. A new synagogue is scheduled to be built soon. There are some 600 Jews in Japan, most of whom live in Tokyo. The new communal center includes a synagogue, an auditorium, a swimming pool and a kosher restaurant. The community employs a young and active Conservative rabbi.

LARGE COMMUNITIES IN HONG KONG, INDIA

The Jewish community in Hong Kong numbers 1,200 persons of various origins. The community operates a large communal center and publishes a Jewish newspaper. There are some 500 Jews in Singapore, mostly East Europeans. They maintain an active communal center and recently renovated two synagogues.

There are 6,000 Jews in India, 4,000 of whom live in Bombay. There are some 40 active synagogues, as well as a Jewish club which houses a kosher restaurant and the offices of the Jewish Agency. The Zionist Society of India, which was inactive in recent years, is resuming its activities and elections are scheduled for various posts in the Society to prepare work for the next Zionist Congress. Meyouhas said that two groups of Indian Jews are expected in Israel shortly to participate in leadership seminars.

She expressed confidence that many of the Jews in these countries will immigrate to Israel once Zionist activities begin to expand and permeate into the communities.

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