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February 16, 1990 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-02-16

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

> Help Asked
For Syrian Jews

Washington (JTA) — More
than 100 members of Con-
gress have asked President
Bush to act "on behalf of the
beleaguered Jewish
community in Syria."
In a letter written by Rep.
Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.), the
lawmakers implored Bush to
make "continued expres-
sions of concern" that Syria
allow "at least unmarried
Jewish women, and hopeful-
ly the entire Jewish
community, to emigrate."
The letter, signed by 122
members of the House of
Representatives, said there
are roughly 4,000 Jews in
Syria who "face a number of
deprivations and hardships,
the most serious of which is
the denial of their right to
emigrate."
It asked Bush to persuade
Syria to let about 100 single
Jewish women emigrate "for
whom there are few mar-
riageable Jewish men
available."
"In this very traditional
culture, if a woman is not
married by an early age, it
can become a real stigma
that jeopardizes her chances
of ever marrying," the letter
stated.
Jewish women in Syria
have a difficult time finding
husbands because many
young men have fled Syria.
Women are more fearful
about trying to escape, out of
fear of being caught and
raped.
The lawmakers also asked
Bush to make an
"immediate, humanitarian
appeal" to Syrian President
Hafez Assad to release three
Jews who are in prison.
Each of the three, Jack
Lalo, Selim Soued and Eli
Soued, "has already served
more than the usual six to 12
months for their alleged
offenses," they wrote.
An administration official
said Lalo has been in jail
since July 1988 and has a
term of two or three years,
for allegedly trying to escape
from Syria.
The Soueds have been in
jail since December 1987.
Until November, Syria did
not allow relatives of the
Soued brothers to visit them,
the official said. They have
been detained for two years
without a trial, on the
grounds of having visited
Israel.
Under Syrian law, visiting
Israel is illegal. Most Jews
leave Syria either by illegal-
ly crossing the border or by
legally taking a trip abroad
and not returning, the offi-
cial said.

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23

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