Assa Urged to Allow Emigration of Remaining Family of Slain Jewish Mother and Her Two Children

Harry Abadi, the brother-in-law of Lillian Abadi, the 25-year-old pregnant Jewish mother who was brutally murdered along with her two small children in Aleppo, Syria last month, has appealed to President Hafez Assad of Syria to allow the surviving members of the murdered woman’s family to emigrate. He was joined in his appeal by Rep. Charles Schumer (D.N.Y.) at a press conference co-sponsored by the New York Jewish Community Relations Council and the Legal Coalition for Syrian Jewry.

According to Harry Abodi, when his brother, Chaim Victor Abodi, returned home on the day of the tragedy, he found his wife dead, her breasts cut, her stomach slit open and her body mutilated. The hands of her six-year-old son, Joseph, were cut, and the body of her three-and-a-half year old daughter, Sandy, hacked to pieces and her head severed.

“My brother called me from Aleppo at three o’clock in the morning and told me about this terrible tragedy,” Abodi recalled in a trembling voice. He said that he lost contact with his brother a week ago and contended that his brother was probably being prevented from calling his relatives abroad. “The Syrian government also does not let him leave,” Abadi charged.

He said the Syrian Jewish community is “in great danger,” and noted that the perpetrators of the vicious murders have not been apprehended. He said that if Syrian Jews were allowed to emigrate, “eighty percent, at least, will leave.” Abadi urged the Syrian authorities “to apprehend those responsible for evil murder so that it will not be repeated against other members of the Jewish community in Syria.”

CREATED THE ATMOSPHERE FOR THE SLAYINGS

Schumer said it is clear from “the brutality and viciousness” of the murder that it was not robbery. He charged that the Syrian government, by its anti-Zionist and anti-Israel rhetoric “created the atmosphere” that encourages such anti-Semitic crimes to take place. He urged Assad to let the remaining Abadi family emigrate.

The Congressman said he will soon introduce a resolution in Congress calling on the Syrians to free the Jewish community and allow those Jews who so desire to emigrate. “It is not a picnic to be a Jew in Syria today,” Schumer said. “Every possible step must be taken to reunite the Abadi family.” He thanked Robert Paganelli, the U.S. Ambassador to Syria, for intervening with the Syrian authorities on behalf of the Abadi family, but he noted that so far “no response has been forthcoming” from the Syrians.

Rep. Mario Biaggi (D.N.Y.), who was also scheduled to participate in the press conference but could not make it the last minute, joined in the appeal to allow the surviving members of the Abodi family to emigrate. In a statement issued in his name, Biaggi said:

“The brutal slaying of Lillian Abodi and her two children is just one savage incident in the campaign of terror that has swept the Jewish community. In Syria, everyone lives in fear. No one can escape the government condoned use of torture and lack of basic legal and political rights.”

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