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Israel Recognizes Romanian Regime, Sends Medical Supplies and Doctors

December 28, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel has extended full recognition to the new regime in Romania and has also sent emergency medical aid to that country.

But misgivings were expressed by some veteran diplomats here over the future of Romanian Jews, now that the 24-year rule of President Nicolae Ceausescu has been brought to a violent end.

Foreign Minister Moshe Arens informed the Knesset on Wednesday that Israel’s ambassador in Bucharest, Zvi Mazel, is maintaining normal diplomatic relations with the interim government headed by President Ion Iliescu.

Abba Gefen, a former Israeli ambassador to Bucharest, warned Wednesday on Israel Radio of the danger of resurgent anti-Semitism in Romania.

He said that however ruthless Ceausescu’s internal policies were, he did not permit anti-Semitic excesses and was the only East bloc leader to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel after 1967.

Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed Dec. 25 after a secret trial.

An indirect warning was sounded by Yitzhak Arad, director of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum.

He observed that the relative freedom of expression permitted under President Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost policies in the Soviet Union allowed the virulent anti-Semitism of ultranationalist right-wing groups such as Pamyat to surface.

With the replacement of communism by nationalism in a nation beset by severe economic problems, there is always the danger that Romanian Jews will be made scapegoats, he said.


Meanwhile, an Israeli air force Hercules transport plane took off Wednesday morning for Bucharest, carrying six tons of medical supplies and equipment, accompanied by two Romanian-speaking Israeli doctors.

The medical relief is for the victims of the violence that accompanied the overthrow of the Ceausescu regime. Tens of thousands of civilians were reported to have been killed or injured in street fighting between the army and the loyalist Securitate, Ceausescu’s secret police.

According to Ambassador Mazel, one Jewish woman was killed by a stray bullet.

There were no casualties among the hundreds of Israeli diplomats, business people and students in Romania when the revolution broke out.

The Israeli doctors plan to stay in Romania for about two weeks to oversee the distribution of medical supplies. They will also advise whether it is necessary to send any of six other Romanian-speaking doctors and two nurses who are standing by in Israel, to help relief efforts being undertaken by the Romanian Red Cross.

Another apparent casualty of the Romanian uprising is the flow of Soviet Jewish immigrants who have been flying to Israel via Bucharest.

For the time being, they are being rerouted via Budapest. A group of 500 arrived from there Wednesday, bringing to 1,600 the number of Soviet Jews who landed in Israel this week.

Israel and Hungary re-established diplomatic relations in October.

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