Israel accused the United Nations today of ignoring and overlooking the plight of Soviet and Syrian Jews. Addressing the Social and Humanitarian Committee (Third Committee) of the General Assembly, the Israeli representative, Ambassador Arieh Eilan, said that since last year’s General Assembly where Israel raised the issue of Soviet and Syrian Jewry, there has been no improvement in the condition of those communities.
Eilan said that Soviet Jews are persecuted and subject to pressures to deter them from applying for exit visas. “Discrimination takes different forms,” he said. “It is true that the persecution of Jews in Soviet Russia these days is not the same as that seen in the days of the bloody pogroms during the regime of the Czars or the mass executions in the time of Stalin. However. from his first steps in school to the day he has to queue up for his old-age pension, the Jew in Russia is isolated from the rest of the population by the daily grinding toll of humiliation and ostracism.”
The Israeli representative said the struggle of Soviet Jews is for “the right to go where they can be free to practice their religion and where they can be sure that their children will not be branded.”
Eilan described Syrian Jewry as a “hostage community.” He charged that the Jews of Syria are still not allowed to travel outside of that country without leaving their relatives for ransom and are required to deposit the equivalent of $6000. Even travel inside Syria is severely restricted for Jews, he said. He also noted that the promises of Syrian spokesmen to cancel the imprint of the word “Mussawi” (Mosaic faith) on the identity cards of Syrian Jews has not been fulfilled. Eilan called on all member states to denounce the tragic conditions under which Syrian Jewry is still held.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.