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5000 Mourn Dead Syrian Jews

April 18, 1974
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Busloads of school children and housewives from the New York Metropolitan area converged on the Syrian Mission to the United Nations today to participate in a memorial service for four murdered Syrian Jewish women and two young men. An estimated 5000 solemn mourners attracted the lunch-hour crowds and shoppers and workers from the nearby offices of the NAACP came out in sympathy.

A flat-topped truck served as a platform for New York State Attorney General Louis J. Lef-kowitz, Congressmen, and prominent women speakers who wore across their chests the names of the four women whose bodies had been found murdered and raped. Students, wearing sandwich-boards shaped like tomb-stones, paced in solemn procession before the Syrian Mission as the public-address system sent forth funeral marches and a Syrian rabbi chanted the Kaddish.

The memorial demonstration was called by the Committee for the Rescue of Syrian Jewry in cooperation with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the American Sephardi Federation, the American Jewish Committee and the Committee of Concern, which is a non-sectarian group seeking to alleviate the plight of minorities in Arab countries.

Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Presidents Conference and chairman of the event called on Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger to demand that “Syria must not only disengage its military forces in order to prove its peaceful intentions, it must disengage as well from acts of terror and persecution against the Syrian Jewish community.” Continuing, he said, “we demand only this–free Syrian Jewry now. Let them leave to live in security where they are wanted.”


The four women who were killed are Eva. Sand, and Toni, Laura and Farah Zeybak. The two men are Nathan Shiai, 18 and Kassem Abadi, 20, who had disappeared a month ago. Earlier in the day, Gov. Malcolm Wilson had issued a proclamation as had Mayor Beame and the City Council, urging all citizens to support Rescue Syrian Jews Day.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, chairman of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, said “The death of these four will be impossible to bear if they do not hearken the world to the frightening isolation of the captive Jews of Syria. Like the bitter deaths of the four little girls killed in a bomb blast of their church in Alabama during the Civil Rights struggle of the ’60s. the deaths of Eva, Toni, Laura and Farah must draw us all to struggle with those who live with daily oppression.”

Sister Ann Patrick Ware, chairperson, Committee on Jewish-Catholic Concerns, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which is the umbrella organization for all Catholic women, said: “I especially protest the ruthless treatment of those who have little or no power in todays world: women and children. The mowing down in senseless terrorists attacks of those whose only crime is to be alive and in the way is horrendous and disgusting and should cause outrage in every human heart.”

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