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Syrian, Lebanese Jews Are Being Neglected, Sephardic Leaders Say

Sephardic leaders complained bitterly Monday that the remnant of the Jewish communities in Syria and Lebanon are being neglected and said their plight is as bad if not worse than that of Soviet Jewry which receives constant attention.

The leaders spoke at a press conference called by the Jerusalem Committee for Sephardic Jewry and the World Sephardic Federation. David Siton, chairman of the Jerusalem Committee and deputy president of the World Federation, said Jews trapped in Syria and Lebanon were subject to murder, rape and plunder.

He said there are about 5,000 Jews still in Syria, most of them in Damascus where they live in a closed ghetto that none dare to leave. There are nearly 700 Jews in Aleppo and 300 in Kamishli, a small town near the Turkish border, he said. There are no exact figures available on the size of the Jewish remnant in Lebanon.

Other Sephardic spokesmen called on the world media to draw attention to the plight of Jews in Arab and other Moslem lands. They said the Soviet Union should be called on to exert pressure on Syrian President Hafez Assad to release Syrian Jews.

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