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August 12, 1977 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-08-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8 Friday, August 12, 1977 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

A Look at the Jews of Albania

BY WARREN FREEDMAN

Although the borders of
Albania have been closed to
the West for more than 30
years, the London Jewish
Chronicle recently reported
that there are more than
200 Jews living in the
People's Republic of Al-
bania.
A senior Albanian diplo-
mat, a Mr. Bagai, informed

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an Israeli newspaper corre-
spondent in Athens that Al-
banian Jews are employed
as scientists and econo-
mists. They were -highly
regarded" specialists, and
none were interested in
leaving Albania.
Jews have lived in Al-
bania since the 12th Cen-
tury. The lone synagogue in
the city of Tirana has been
closed since 1946. The town
of Berat was the place of
refuge for the 17th Century
false messiah, Sabbatai
Zvi.
The town of Durres (for-
merly Durazzo) once had
more than a thousand Jews
but hard times necessitated
emigration in the early
1800's to Greece.
Since 1976. the Albanian
government has required
that all ethnic minorities
take Albanian names, so
that even Jewish names are
not identifiable.

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Knesset, Cabinet, Police Members Debate
the Existence of Organized Crime in Israel
_
_

JERUSALEM (JTA)—
Whether organized crime
exists in Israel and what to
do about it if it does has
emerged as a major public
controversy here. The
issue, which has been
raised publicly before.
emerged again last week
when Likud MK Ehud 01-
mert said he has docu-
ments to substantiate his
charge that organized
crime exists in Israel and
called for a parliamentary
investigation.
Police Inspector General
Hayim Tavori met last
Friday with Interior Min-
ister Yosef Burg to discuss
plans for reorganizing the
work of the police against
crime. -
In a radio interview Sun-
day, Tavori declined to call
it organized crime, but said
the police did have a file of
a number of suspects whose
guilt they were systematic-
ally trying to prove.
Tavori said one of the
main problems was present-
ing the courts with suf-
ficient evidence to prove
those suspects' guilt. How-
ever, he said, to speak
about organized crime is an
exaggeration.
Tavor's denial of organiz-
ed crime in Israel is not the
first. Ever since there was
talk of an emergence of an

Israeli "Mafia," the author-
ities refrained from admit-
ting its existence, most
likely in order to avoid pub-
lic hysteria and perhaps
spare police from criticism
for having allowed organiz-
ed crime to develop.
However, in spite of his
denial of the existence of or-
ganized crime, an ad hoc
commission appointed by
Tavori will study the scope
of crime in Israel and sug-
gest ways and means to
combat'it. Interior Minister
Burg said Sunday in a tele-
vision interview he hoped
the commission would con-
clude its - work within two
weeks to allow for a thor-
ough working plan in the
fight against crime.
The commission, headed
by Michael Buchner, chief
of the special operations
unit at the Police _General
Headquarters, reportedly
will enjoy a free hand in
carrying out its work. It
was stressed that it would
also inquire outside of the
police force in order to get
a thorough look at the crimi-
nal system.
Burg said that once he re-
ceives the report of the com-
mission he will decide
whether to support the crea-
tion of a public committee
to investigate organized -
crime. Such a committee

should be headed by an in-
dependent non-political fig-
ure, "perhaps a judge, '
Burg said. implying he was
against a parliamentary
commission, as advocated
by MK Olmert.
Meanwhile, Olmert, who
at 31 is one of the youngest
members of the Knesset
and who has devoted a
great deal of his parlia-
mentary career to studying
the Israeli underworld, has
engaged in a dispute with
Reserve Gen. Rehavam
Zeevi, former commander
of the central command
and an advisor on anti-ter-
rorism to former Premier
Yitzhak Rabin.
Olmert charged that
Zeevi threatened him follow-
ing, hints by the MK that
"senior army officers"
were involved in organized
crime. Zeevi denied that he
had made any threats
against Olmert but an-
nounced Sunday that he
would sue the Knesseter for
libel.
Olmert said he did not
say Zeevi was. involved
with organized crime but
he referred to the General's
friendship with Bezalel Miz-
rahi, of Tel Aviv, one of Is-
rael's most successful build-
ing contractors. ,
have no legal proof of

Mizrahi's involvement in
criminal actions, - Olmert
said. - But there is definite-
ly an accumulation of Miz-
rahi's involvement with
criminals, and with crimi-
nal events, which raises
deep . suspicion."
• Asked about his relations
with Mizrahi, Zeevi said
today: "Mizrahi is a very
good friend of nine. If he iF
involved with the Mafia,
then I have a problem. But
I don't believe he is."
Haaretz, in an article Sun-
day on Mizrahi, described
him as a financier of many
of the activities of organiz-
ed crime in Israel. It is the
first time that specific alle-
gations were made against
the man, known for his
close relations with many
of. Israel's high society.
Mizrahi, 42. and a fifth-
generation Sabra, is the
owner of a chain of hotels
his construction company,
Elishav, built throughout
the country. He was also in-
volved in a number of build-
ing projects for the govern-
ment.
There was no immediate
public reaction by Mizrahi
to the Haaretz article, but
allegations and counter-al-
legations are gradually de-
veloping into the most in-
volved crime story since
the state was born.

Questions for the Arab States

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By RABBI SAMUEL SILVER

(A Seven Arts Feature)

Isaiah Kenen is one of the
most charming and knowl-
edgeable men you could
ever meet.
Longtime director of the
Near East Report and one-
time Cleveland journalist,
Kenen is now editor eme-
ritus of the Near East Re-
port and is still doing what
he's done for decades: il-
luminating the Mideast situ-
ation.
In a statement which has
appeared in many papers,
Kenen arms us with some
questions that we might ask
of the Arab spokesmen.
Here are some:
What Arab countries per-
mit Jews to live inside their
territories, and how many
let their Jews emirate?
Isn't this a "human rights"
situation?
How many Jews were
killed by Arab terrorists in
Jaffa in 1921...in the Arab
riots between 1936 and
1939? What Arab nations
have protested the murder-
ous attacks on innocent
people in Israel?
How many Arab refugees
have been resettled and

Bnai Brith Issues
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WASHINGTON—A new
energy conservation guide,
"...So Machar Will Be, A
Right Tomorrow" has been
published by Bnai Brith's
Commission of Community
Volunteer Services.
The booklet explains the
major aspects of the energy
problem and outlines specif-
ic steps that both groups
and individuals can take to
help ease the situation.
To obtain copies, write
Bnai Brith Division of Pro-
grams and Resources, 1640
Rhode Island Ave., NW,
Washington, D.C. 20036.

given citizenship in Iraq
Syria, Libya, Saudi1
Arabia, etc.?
How much have Arab na=
tions contributed towards
the relief of the Palesti-
nians?
How can anyone speak of
a Palestinian state after
seeing what the Palesti-
nians did to Lebanon?

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