Argentine Rabbi Hopes Shamir’s Visit There Will Cast Light on the Fate of Missing Jews

Rabbi Marshall Meyer, a leader of Argentina’s Jewish community, expressed cautious hope today that Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s current visit to Argentina would cast some light on the fate of the hundreds of Jews among the thousands of other Argentine citizens who have disappeared in recent years during that country’s political turmoil.

The Conservative rabbi, a delegate to the 30th World Zionist Congress now in session in Jerusalem, indicated in a Voice of Israel Radio interview that he expected Shamir to make public a list of missing Argentine Jews Before leaving for Buenos Aires last Sunday, Shamir promised to raise the issue of missing Jews with Argentine officials, though he stressed it was a delicate matter which he preferred not to discuss in public before his departure.

Meyer said he hoped Shamir’s expected announcement would help in some way. “I would hope that other foreign ministers of countries whose co-religionists or co-nationals have disappeared would make similar announcements, ” he said, adding that he was concerned not only with the fate of Jews but of all persons who have disappeared in Argentina.

Meyer noted that the names of 6,000 missing persons have been registered and published by the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) but with no real effect up to now. “I am rather dubious and sceptical as to whether the forthcoming announcement by the Minister (Shamir) will have any effect,” he said. He observed, however, that the publication of the OAS list and other lists might have a cumulative influence.

Reports from Buenos Aires said that Shamir met yesterday with President Reynaldo Bignone and Foreign Minister Aguirre Lanari. According to an Israel Embassy spokesman there, Shamir stressed Israel’s ties to Argentina which has the largest Jewish population in the western hemisphere outside of the United States. Diplomatic sources said the aim of Shamir’s visit was to counter Argentina’s increasingly close relations with many Arab countries.

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