JERUSALEM (Feb. 25)
Three world Jewish leaders have issued a joint condemnation of efforts by several Arab states to curtail immigration to Israel from the Soviet Union.
The statement was released here Friday, as the Arab Cooperation Council prepared to meet the following day in Amman, to adopt “a series of practical measures” against Soviet immigration to Israel.
Reports from Amman late Saturday said that the council agreed to convene a meeting of Arab foreign ministers next month in Tunis to plan the campaign.
Jordan, which hosted the meeting, has expressed concern that Israel intends to move masses of Soviet Jews into the West Bank, forcing Palestinians into Jordan, where more than half the population already is Palestinian.
Many right-wing Israelis insist that Jordan is, in fact, the Palestinian state.
Two ministers of Israel’s Labor Party proposed at the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday that Israel offer assurances to Jordan.
“Israel should declare publicly and officially that she does not intend to direct immigrants to the territories and that she respects Jordan’s independence,” Education Minister Yitzhak Navon and Mordechai Gur, a minister without portfolio, declared.
The joint statement condemning the Arab campaign against Soviet aliyah was signed by Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress; Seymour Reich, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; and Simcha Dinitz, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives.
‘FREE AND UNFETTERED IMMIGRATION’
It expressed appreciation for “the recent positive move by the Soviet authorities in the direction of free emigration, in accordance with international standards and obligations.”
That policy, they said, “has fostered greater understanding between the people of the USSR and world Jewry.”
But the Jewish leaders deplored “those who would seek for crass political reasons to deny the Jewish people their historical and basic right of national self-determination by attempting to undermine or otherwise interrupt the immigration of Jews to the Jewish state.”
“We pledge to oppose and resist this insidious effort, which goes to the heart of the Jewish nation’s existence and development,” the statement by the Jewish leaders said.
They also pledged their “full and undiminished support for the free and unfettered immigration of Jews to the State of Israel.”
Dinitz, meanwhile, has cabled instructions to Zionist federations and bureaus all over the world on how to combat Arab efforts to disrupt aliyah, WZO officials told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Dinitz wrote that the Arab campaign was an extension of their struggle against Israel’s existence and should be resisted as such.
The argument that the immigrants are being settled in the administered territories is a specious excuse, Dinitz said. He noted that, in fact, only a tiny fraction of new immigrants actually settle in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.