The Australian Jewish Times (December 2, 1982)

BUCHAREST: Rabbi Dr. Moses Rosen, the Chief Rabbi of Romania, is hopeful that, despite the new Romanian Government law restricting emigration, the Aliya of Romanian Jews will be completed.

According to a decree published in Bucharest, in the future, no Romanian citizen will be allowed to emigrate until he has first repaid to the State, in hard currency, the entire cost of his higher education.

Other severe restrictions have been placed on the emigration of Romanian citizens.

Rabbi Rosen said that "it is important that we should be cautious and prudent in our reactions to the latest Romanian Government measures. We must wait."

"I feel sure that the measures are not concerned with Jewish Aliya to Israel, because this is already an accomplished fact.

"Only another few hundred are planning to go on Aliya, and they will do so sooner or later.

"It cannot be otherwise," he said.

Rabbi Rosen pointed out that the Romanian Government had from the beginning been opposed to the emigration of Romanians but had made an exception in the case of the Jews because of the Holocaust and because of the belief that the Jewish people had a right to have their own State for religious and national reasons.

"We are sure, therefore, that we shall find a solution to the present problem," Rabbi Rosen added.

"We must not over-react. "In my opinion, a mistake was made on a previous occasion when people outside criticized the Romanian Government

. "Let us not make the same mistake. "While we have to pursue Aliya, we must also be aware of the importance that our communities should exist, and that our good relations with the Romanian Government should continue."

Rabbi Rosen revealed that he had already been in contact with the Romanian authorities "at the highest level" and had freely discussed the new measures.

"I found understanding of our problems," he remarked.

The Jews who had been affected by the new measures were "not very happy," and he was expecting them to come to see him.

He pointed out that there had not been a total stop to emigration. Anyone over 60 and those without higher education could still leave.

Of the 30,000 Jews still in Romania, 20,000 were over 60, and not all of the other 10,000 wanted to emigrate.

Emigration to Israel had continued, Chief Rabbi Rosen said. This year alone, about 1200 had left for Israel.

A few hundred others had applied and been given exit permits. It was these who were affected by the new laws. Among them are a number with high school and university education.

Rabbi Rosen, who is a member of the Romanian Parliament and has excellent relations with the Romanian Government — President Nicolas Ceaucescu is believed to admire his statesmanlike qualities — stated that synagogues and Talmud Torahs in Romania were active and communal life normal.