U.S. Not Satisfied -
With Syria Claims
on 'Hostage' Case
WASHINGTON (JTA) Th e
United States government is
pleased to have Syrian assurances
as to future treatment of Ameri-
can citizens visiting Syria, but con-
tinues to disagree with Syria's in-
terpretation of facts in the case of
Edward Levy, 25, of New York,
who was held incommunicado by
Syria for almost two years.
Levy, a Jew, is now back in New
A State Department spokesman
said Levy entered a restricted
military zone on the Israel-Syrian
frontier. Syria claimed he was an
Israeli citizen because he was for-
mally exchanged for a Syrian na-
tional. But the State Department
does not view this explanation as
adequate, it was indicated.
Until Levy was turned over to
Israeli authorities, his whereabouts
were not known, either to Israel
or to the United States Embassy
in Israel, from the time he crossed
over into Syria two years ago,
after living at Kibbutz Ein Gev,
near the Syrian border. There was
never any doubt that he was an
American, and not an Israeli.
Syria rejected a U. S. protest
concerning Levy, insisting that the
State Department had -"greatly
exaggerated" the case.
The Syrian statement charged
that "Zionist circles" had exploit-
ed the affair "to damage Syria's
relations with friendly foreign
countries." Levy's detention was
disclosed when he was released
in an Israeli prisoner exchange
with Syria for a Syrian held in
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(Continued From Page 1)
• The report said a religious so-
ciety, or synagogue, may be formed
by 20 citizens after they have ob-
tained a permit from the Commit-
tee of Religious Cults of the local
Soviet, which supervises the so-
ciety. Because the society is not
recognized as a "legal person,"
each of its members has to assume
personal responsibility for the law-
ful conduct of the - society and
maintenance of the building leased
to it as a synagogue.
Information about the other two
kinds of groups is considerably
scarcer. "The groups of believers"
are fewer than the 20 persons
needed to form a religious society
and usually meet in private or
The unregistered prayer groups
are, the report said, "invisible to
the public eye." Most are formed
during the High Holidays and dis-
solve at the end of the holiday
season; others meet occasionally;
a few meet regularly.
The report said the groups are
illegal because Jews are fearful of
notifying authorities about their
gatherings or because local offi-
cials are hostile. The groups are
small, the report said, and stran-
gers are met with suspicion and
There is evidence to suggest, the
report stated, that some local of-
ficials tolerate "illegal Minyanim"
as a "lesser religious evil."
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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, March 25, 1966-3
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they can withdraw
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