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July 20, 1979 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-07-20

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2 Friday, July 20, 1979

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Purely Commentary

'No-Confidence Panic' and the Injection of Prejudicial
Elements in the World Energy Problem ... Romanian Jewry's
Status and the Tragedy of Declining Jewish Communities

The 'Crisis of Confidence':
Sensationalized Prejudices
as Links to Energy Chaos

President Carter's campaign to introduce a new spirit
of confidence by the people of this country into their nation
and national interests should inspire the new spirit of faith
that is so vital to the human peace of mind.
The "crisis of confidence" deplored by the President
was linked by him with the media, the indifference that has
spread dangerously, the lack of faith.
His program pleads for success as an eventual solution
to the grave energy problem, and with equal anxiety it
alludes to the spirit of the people.
The media are cause for concern. Why should a news-
paper in Saginaw, at this time, when the Arab power is
threatening the entire world, raise a question that reads:
"If Israel's supply of oil is cut off, the United States has
agreed to keep that country's supply for up to 15 years. Are
you prepared to make a personal sacrifice to keep the
agreement?" There was a yes vote in favor of such an
agreement, many affirming that "it is important to back up
our friends." The 75 percent no vote asked Carter to "stop
playing Santa Claus."
Perhaps out of the dilemma involving the energy crisis
and the need for patriotism and confidence may emerge an
understanding that Israel's continuing economic solidity
depends immensely on oil, and the assurance of oil for
Israel has even more of an impact on the urgency for peace
without which the world will remain on the brink of an-
other world conflict.
Perhaps the President's plea for a new sense of confi-
dence by Americans in themselves and in America will
have much to do with an attitude in the media that will
inspire the craved-for peace. In any event, a crisis in confi-
dence has the human element that needs elimination of
prejudice. That's the aim to be cherished.

Romania: Study in Decline
.of a Major Jewish Community

Tragedies of the disappearance of Jewish communities
are multiple. Many of them have been destroyed during
and since the last world conflict. This is true of Jewish
groups in Moslem countries. The chief disaster was in Po-
land where only about 7,000 aged survive from the thriving
Polish Jewry of 3,500,000.
Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu attests to another
near-disaster. Only 10 percent of the nearly half-million
survive at this time.
While Romanian Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen comes to
this country frequently with heartening reports, the total
picture is one of gloom.
There has been a large influx of Jews from Romania
into Israel, yet this number also is declining. In the first
five months of this year, only 251 were permitted to emi-
grate as compared with 457 for the first five months of 1978.
The current Romanian Jewish condition is analyzed in
a background report by David Geller of the foreign affairs
department of the American Jewish Committee:
Romanian government representatives argue
that the drop in departure is the result of objective
factors, not Romanian policy or government obs-
tacles. Many of the estimated 35-40,000 Jews in
Romania today are elderly people who may have
wanted to leave years ago but are not now ready
to pick up and start life over again somewhere,
they declared. Still others have decided to stay
and complete studies, and others have assimi-
lated into Romanian society. Virtually any one
who really wants to emigrate now can do so in a
reasonable period of time, is the official claim.
Others with knowledge of the Romanian scene
dispute this. Government emigration procedures,
it is pointed out, are such as to discourage
would-be emigrants, who must appear before a
preliminary commission before even getting an
emigration form. In some instances, the
authorities have refused to accept applications
from people wishing to go and it is said knowledge
of the negative government attitude makes people
chary to apply.
Complicating the picture, are varying estimates
as to how many Jews actually remain in Romania.
The government authorities set the figure low, at
about 25,000; which, of course, means a di-
minished potential for departure. The Jewish
community itself cites a figure in the neighbor-
hood of 37,000. And others would put the number
still higher, nearer 45,000. The range prob-ably
reflects differences in hOw one considers the
non-Jewish mate in intermarried families.
What is not in dispute, though is that Roma-
nian Jewry today comprises only about a tenth of
the 425,000 who survived the war and pogroms of
Romania's fascist-like Iron Guard. The over-
whelming majority managed to make their way to
Israel in post-war decades, with the Communist

;4



MOSES ROSEN

NICOLAE CEAUSESCU

authorities sometimes permitting emigration,
sometimes blocking movement completely.
The emigration allowed in the past several
years, it was clear, was always less than the
number who wished to go at any given-time. The
same situation prevails today, it is felt, for even
the casual visitor to Romania usually can meet
some Jews who say they want to go. "Give us
names," the Romanian authorities declare, but in
most instances there is reluctance to do this. Nor
should the Romanian government act on a case-
by-case basis, it is argued, but on the more general
humanitarian ground of family reunion.
Romanian Jews today maintain a network of
religious, cultural and welfare institutions, under
the aegis of the Federation of Jewish Com-
munities headed by Chief Rabbi Rosen. About
half the Jews live in Bucharest, the rest being
scattered through some 67 organized Jewish
communities in the rest of the country. According
to the Romanian Jewish Federation figures, there
is full exercise of religion, with services being held
in 120 synagogues and temples; Talmud Torah
courses where Hebrew is taught in 24 towns and
cities; and community choirs and orchestras.
Cooperating with the federation in the welfare
field is the American Jewish Joint Distribution
Committee. A major new home for the aged is
bekng opened in Bucharest this coming month.
Romania; too, it must be noted, is the only
Communist country to maintain diplomatic rela-
tions with Israel, the others in the Soviet bloc
having broken ties after the 1967 war. While cal-
ling on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank
and Gaza, and recognizing the PLO, Romania has
refrained from the kind of attacks on Israel and
Zionism made by Soviet Union and other Com-
munist lands. Indeed, Romania's President
Ceausescu is credited with having played an im-
portant role in helping set • up negotiations be-
tween President Sadat and Premier Begin, lead-
ing to Sadat's trip to Jerusalem.
There are several other ethnic and religious
minorities in Romania. The desire to see that
others of these groups, such as the ethnic Ger-
mans, stay put, is believed to be one of the causes
of the more restrictive Romanian emigration
policies that also affect Jews.
There is no doubt about Romania's more human ap-
proach to the tragedy that is Jewry. Yet it is apparent that
hers is another of the declining communities. Its survival is
in doubt. It is another of the evidences of a Holocaust whose
effects have been filled with horror for all in Eastern
Europe. The chapter in history thus being recorded is one of
horror. The dismay affects all Jews.

Georgie •eyer's Role as Arabs'
Spokesperson Against Israel

Georgie Anne Geyer, under protection of the Los
Angeles Times imprimatur, in articles widely syndicated,
including a Detroit newspaper patron, has a long record of
anti-Israelism in her credentials. She,idoesn't conceal her
role. She digs for every incident to be utilized against the
Jewish state.
She did it in another article recently in which Chris-
tian denominations were used as cloaks for attacks on Is-
rael. She has been given munitions in the settlements con-
troversy.
Who is this front-liner for the Arab enemies of Israel?
In the Near East Report, recently, Leonard J. Davis gave
this account of the Geyer record and her activities:
Whether interviewing Yasir Arafat, explaining
Muammar Qaddafi's proclamations, or defending
Saudi discrimination against Rosalynn Carter,
columnist Georgie Anne Geyer is consistent, She
is perhaps one of the most active advocates for the
Arab world in American journalism .. .
The benefits are by no means one way, however.

By Philip
Slomovitz

According to records filed with the U.S. Depart-
ment of Justice, Geyer received $2,000 from a Li-
byan foreign agent on Sept. 30, 1978. The money
was an "honorarium" for a speech she was to give
in Tripoli, Libya, two weeks later.
The money was given to Geyer by the "Arab-
American Dialogue Committee," a group funded
by the Libyan government and Joseph Baroody, a
past president of the National Association of
Arab-Americans. The group's goals were "to
bring Arabs and Americans closer together
through an objective and informed discussion of
the points of convergence and divergence in the
increasingly important relationship between the
United States and Arab World."
Knowing Geyer may not correct the sad situation of
vicious anti-Israel propaganda, yet it is well to know 6.
source of the propaganda. If more people will become
quainted with it, theyM be better able to pass judgment ()L.
it.

Josef Fraenkel: Impressive Record
With the World Jewish Congress

Josef Fraenkel has retired from the staff of the World
Jewish Congress in London after 43 years of notable
achievements. The honors accorded him for his many
achievements as historian, researcher, chronicler, 'ar-
chivist, also invite comments on behalf of this newspaper.
For at least two decades,
Mr. Fraenkel also has con-
tributed many important
articles to these columns on
Zionist history, the work of
many notables, memoranda
on significant events in
Jewish history. He is with-
out doubt one of the best-
informed men on Zionist
history, and his several
books, his essays on Herzl,
Jabotinsky, Sokolow and
other leaders; as well as his
books on Czechoslovak and
Polish Jewry, have enriched
Jewish litei-d-ry journals
JOSEF FRAENKEL
and bookshelves.
In an expression of gratitude for his labors, with wishes
for good years ahead, Dr. S.J. Roth, executive director of the
European branch, in a statement in behalf of the World
Jewish Congress, said in part:
Josef Fraenkel ... has edited, indeed created,
the Press Survey from its beginning and it would
be difficult to replace his exceptional knowledge
of Jewish affairs and linguistic abilities, not to
speak of his passionate devotion to the press.
The Press Survey has covered siinie 100 Jewish
and non-Jewish newspapers and periodicals
from many parts of the world. Its aim was to in-
form the leaders and friends of teh WJC of what
the papers wrote about matters of immediate
concern - to them. The Press Survey did not take
sides or express opinions of its own; it tried to be
an unbiased mirror of the press. It has therefore
sometimes reprinted also items critical of the
World Jewish Congress or its leaders, and that
provoked occasional questions. The editor felt
that it was his duty to include such items as well,
not only to remain true to the objectives and ob-
jectivity of the Press Survey, but primarily be-
cause he assumed that the leaders of the WJC
would want to know what the press wrote about
our organization.
The recipients of this letter, who are mostly per-
sonal friends of Josef Fraenkel, will be delighted
to learn that he will conknue, in his retirement, to
assist the WJC in such matters as new editions of
"The Jewish PresS of the World," "Jewish Lib-
raries of the World" and in Yiddish cultural ac-
tivities. They will also, I am sure, want to join me
in expressing gratitude to him for 43 years of de-
votion and service and best wishes for long life
and good health in his retirement.
Much more can be said in gratitude for important con-
tributions to Jewish literature and for dedicated services to
Israel, world Jewry and the task of elevating the standards
ofJewish-journalism. Josef Fraenkel, as one of the founders
of the Jewish State Party, was among the earliest associ-
ates of the late Vladimir Zeev Jabotinsky and later of
Menahem Begin. He merits the title of historian of Jewish
journalists in appreciation of his collected data about the
Jewish press everywhere.
He has retired from the World Jewish Congress but not
from Jewish activities and will continue sharing his
knowledge with a reading public in communities through-
out the world. Best wishes for success in these efforts go
with this expression of thanks for a lifetime of creative
labors.

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