AMSTERDAM (Dec. 18)
Dutch Justice Minister Aad Kosto explained to Parliament on Wednesday why a predawn raid by riot police was necessary to expel Soviet Jewish emigres from Israel denied asylum in Holland.
Although the ouster was supported by virtually the entire Second Chamber of Parliament and by some Jewish community leaders here, the authorities appeared embarrassed by what seemed to many to have been an excessive use of force.
Wilma Stein, director of the Jewish Social Welfare Federation, said she approved of the government’s decision but not of the methods used to implement it.
She was referring to the use Tuesday of 100 riot police, along with local police, to evict from an immigrant hostel in Eindhoven 43 Soviet Jewish immigrants from Israel and place them aboard a charter flight to Tel Aviv.
At least one emigre was seriously injured when he leaped from a window to escape the police. Others complained they were given no chance to dress.
The emigres were among some 200 Soviet Jews who came to Holland from Israel during the past year seeking haven because they were unable to adjust to life in the Jewish state. Some said they had been harassed in Israel because they were either not in fact Jewish or progeny of mixed marriages.
Although the Netherlands has always had a liberal policy toward refugees, the government ruled that these Jews did not qualify for asylum because they were in no danger of persecution in the country from which they came.
Kosto told the members of Parliament that a large police force was used because the refugees at Eindhoven had a week ago physically resisted an effort by authorities to evict a couple with two children.
Fearful of disorders, the Dutch authorities sent 20 members of the state police and two members of the Eindhoven police force to accompany the refugees on the four-hour flight to Israel.
They also sent along two representatives of the Justice Ministry and two doctors.
Many of the refugees landed at Ben-Gurion Airport barefoot in their pajamas. Kosto said that was because they refused to dress to avoid removal from the hostel.
Some of them insisted on being sent to another country and refused to pass through Israeli customs.