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900 Iranian Jews Arrive in Israel

February 6, 1979
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More than 900 Iranian Jews arrived in Israel over the week end on a 24-hour airlift maintained by EI AI between Teheran and Tel Aviv. The airline employed two Boeing 747 jumbo jets and one 707.

Arieh Beckenstein, EI AI’s manager in Teheran who was a passenger on one of the flights, told reporters that his company had transported more than 3500 Iranian Jews to Israel in recent weeks. But many of them may have been in transit as no more than 1000 arrivals were listed prior to this weekend. Exact figures are unavailable. A spokesman for the Absorption Ministry said hundreds of immigrants were coming from Iran but declined to elaborate.

The number of Jews still in Iran is now estimated at between 65-70,000. Observers here believe that most of those who wanted to leave have done so. Most of the Jews remaining behind are said to be at the lower middle class and poorer sections of the community.

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