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Knesset Appeals to World Opinion to Help Rescue Syrian Jews

March 5, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

— The Knesset renewed its appeal to world opinion to help rescue Syrian Jews after the government conceded that representations made so far to statesmen, parliaments and world figures have been to no avail.

The government is doing “everything openly and quietly,” on behalf of Syrian Jews, Justice Minister Moshe Nissim said yesterday in reply to an agenda motion. He said that the 5000 Jews living in Syria were deprived of their spiritual freedom and their freedom of movement, including the right to emigrate and faced physical danger because of the deteriorating internal situation in Syria. But while their plight has been brought to the attention of many governments and parliaments, the situation remains unchanged, he said.

The matter was raised by Likud MK Yitzhak Yitzhaki who cited recent reports that hundreds of Jewish young women in Syria were unable to find husbands because of the shortage of Jewish men of marriageable age in that country and, in many cases, converted to Islam and married Moslem men in order to raise families. Yitzhaki suggested that Pope John Paul II head an international council to work for the release of Syrian Jews.

He asked a Moslem MK, Walid Haj Yihya of the Sheli faction, to try to get influential Israeli Arabs to persuade the Syrian regime to allow Jews to emigrate. Yehuda Ben Meir, of the National Religious Party, made a similar suggestion in the form of a motion.

The outcome was a unanimous call by the Knesset to the Pope, Moslem leaders, the United Nations, parliamentary democracies and other governments throughout the world to bring pressure to bear on the Damascus government.

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