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Mass Arrests of Jews in Morocco Throw Jewish Population into Panic

February 16, 1961
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The entire Jewish population in Morocco was reported here today to be in a state of panic following mass arrests of Jews in various Moroccan towns. The report, which came from Rabat, indicated that the fear among Jews was greatest in the southern Moroccan towns, particularly in Fez, Meknes and Sefrou.

The number of Jews arrested during the last few days was estimated to reach about 300. During the last 48 hours alone more than 30 Jews were arrested in Fez, Meknes and Sefrou. They included the head of the Jewish community in Sefrou. All of them have been charged with participation in distribution of anonymous leaflets calling on the Jewish population to leave Morocco.

The reports indicated that tortures were carried out against the arrested Jews, particularly in the police headquarters of Meknes, where the tortures were described reliably as of an almost Nazi-like character, including the use of pincer instruments on sensitive parts of the victims’ bodies.

The Council of Jewish Communities of Morocco called a special meeting to discuss the growing Moslem-Jewish tension and released a communique denouncing the “persistence of the anti-Jewish press campaign which uses false and defamatory statements.” The communique also strongly protested against the “pretensions of responsible elements whosoever they may be and whatever their reasons.”

The Council reaffirmed the loyalty of Moroccan Jewry to King Mohammed V whose liberal attitude toward the Jews of Morocco was lauded. The communique assailed the anonymous leaflets distributed to Moroccan Jews as the possible work of provocateurs “who aim at sowing discord between the Jewish and Moslem populations.”

A Jewish delegation was scheduled to make another attempt to meet with the Crown Prince and Premier, Moulay Hassan, to express the anxieties of Moroccan Jews and to assure the Government of Moroccan Jewish loyalty.

Roger Seydoux, the French Ambassador to Morocco, called on the Moroccan Foreign Ministry yesterday and protested the detention of the two French Jews, Andre Niddam and Maurice Ruimy. The envoy said that no charges had been brought against the two men since their arrest and that they had been detained for a longer time than Moroccan law permits. He also called to the Ministry’s attention the concern felt by the French Government at the-stringent Moroccan enforcement of emigration laws against Jews which the envoy said contradicted United Nations principles.

Admiral Kahane, president of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, has arrived in Morocco to study problems facing the Alliance Israelite institutions in connection with the nationalization of some of the Alliance schools by the Moroccan Government. He visited Jewish schools in several towns and met with leaders of the Moroccan Jewish community.

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