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Wj Congress Hears Optimistic Reports on Jewish Life in Iran, South Africa

July 11, 1968
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Optimistic reports on Jewish education and life in two widely separated countries — Iran and the Republic of South Africa — were given by delegates at a meeting of the governing council of the World Jewish Congress here today. The informants were Moshe Kermanian of the Central Jewish Community of Iran, who addressed the council in Hebrew, and Dr. Teddy Schneider, president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. Both said that anti-Semitic manifestations in their countries were minor and were discouraged by the authorities.

Mr. Kermanian reported “great progress” in education in Iran and said “we are rather proud of it.” He noted that of a Jewish population of 8,000, there were 1,400 Jewish students, which is 10 times the ratio for the country as a whole. He said that 400 Iranian Jews were now studying at Israeli universities whereas many previously went to American or European universities. He said that the Shah and the Government “continued in the great tradition of Cyrus” to consider Persian (Iranian) Jews completely Persian and were both fair and just to Jewish communal needs. Nevertheless, he said, aliyah (immigration) has never ceased and there were now 8,000 Iranian Jews in Israel, a figure equal to the entire Jewish population of Iran. Dr. Schneider said that South African Jews had always been ardent Zionists and remained so. The use of Hebrew was spreading, he said, adding that a major task confronting the community was Jewish education.

An array of notables representing the United Nations office and the UN missions of Britain, France, the Soviet Union, Italy, South Africa and Israel attended a reception given here by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the WJ Congress. Also present were the Chief Rabbi of Geneva and representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UN Secretariat, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, and the International Confederation of Christian Trade Unions. Dr. Goldmann’s co-hosts were Dr. Joachim Prinz of Newark, N.J., chairman of the governing council, and Dr. Gerhard M. Riegner, secretary-general of the WJ Congress.

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