British Committee for the Rescue of Syrian Jewry Has Been Formed
Menu JTA Search

British Committee for the Rescue of Syrian Jewry Has Been Formed

Download PDF for this date

A British Committee for the Rescue of Syrian Jewry has been formed here to arouse public opinion and support for the 4,500 Jews of Syria whose emigration has been banned for years and who appear now to be in greater danger than ever. Leon Tamman, treasurer of the World Sephardi Federation, is president.

Martin Shaw, chairman of the committee,said yesterday that fear for the safety of Syrian Jews has grown since Rifaat Assad, brother of President Hafez Assad, returned from political exile and was put in charge of internal security.

Shaw, a lawyer who has frequently acted on behalf of Jews in Arab countries, recalled that Rifaat Assad was “primarily responsible” for the massacre of 20,000 members of the Moslem Brotherhood in the city of Hama in northern Syria two years ago.


His reinstatement as security chief is “frightening” for Syria’s Jews, of whom 3,000 live in Damascus, 1,200 in Aleppo and 300 in Kamishli, Shaw said.

He noted that Syrian Jews are controlled by the security police through a special government committee for Jewish affairs which includes officials of the Interior Ministry and Palestinian organizations. Syrian Jews are not permitted to inherit property. The property of deceased Jews reverts to the State, not to their heirs, he said.

Another problem facing the Jewish community is the shortage of male spouses. There are now 500 women of marriageable age unable to find Jewish husbands, Shaw said. But the Damascus regime refuses to let them leave to find mates abroad or to join relatives in places like New York where 25,000 Syrian Jews now live.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund