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Soviet Newspaper Made No Reference to Israel in the Leningrad Case

The full text of the article in the Soviet newspaper Leningradskaya Pravda which linked the three arrested leaders of the Leningrad Jewish community with “espionage activities” was received here today. It contains no direct mention of Israel or of the accused maintaining any contact with Israeli diplomats in the Soviet Union.

The paper carries a report of the trial of the three Jewish leaders and said that they were charged with supplying information “to a certain capitalist country.” A report by the United Press International from Moscow carried in the Jerusalem Post here yesterday said that the Leningradskaya Pravda reported that “two witnesses testified that the defendants had transmitted ‘espionage material’ to Israel embassy officials during services in a Leningrad synagogue.”

“The Israeli officials,” the UPI report from Moscow continued, “were identified by the witnesses as Mr. Yaacov Sharett and Mr. Eliahu Hazan.” Pointing out that Mr. Sharett is the son of former Israel Prime Minister Moshe Sharett, the UPI report said that he was expelled last summer from Russia on charges of espionage and that Mr. Hazan was likewise expelled after being arrested in Odessa in 1957.

The UPI report also said that the Leningradskaya Pravda “also claimed that the defendants distributed ‘anti-Soviet literature,’ presumably Zionist pamphlets published in Israel.” It is believed here that this part of the UPI report referring to Israel was in the nature of an elaboration rather than a direct quotation from the Leningrad newspaper.

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