TEL AVIV (Jun. 28)
Dr. Robert A. Soblen, who disappeared from New York yesterday on the eve of his scheduled surrender to start a life sentence for spying for the Soviet Union, was discovered today in a small hotel here a few hours after his landing in Israel. He was immediately arrested on charges that he entered the country on false documents.
Officials here said he arrived yesterday using the Canadian passport of his late brother Bruce Gobel. He took the room in the hotel here under his brother’s name. When he was asked by the police to produce his passport, he claimed he had lost it on the way from Lydda airport to the hotel.
The United States Embassy here noted that while a United States-Israel extradition agreement has been signed, it has not yet been ratified by Israel’s Knesset and the U.S. Congress. Embassy officials said they would nevertheless ask for Dr. Soblen’s extradition.
(In Washington, the State Department officially announced that the U.S. Department of Justice requested the Secretary of State to seek through diplomatic channels the return of convicted Soviet spy Dr. Robert A. Soblen to American custody. The State Department has entered into communication with the Israel Government on the matter. U.S. authorities are hopeful that Israel will quickly find a legal avenue to return Dr. Soblen to American custody.)
A spokesman for Interior Minister Moshe Shapiro announced that the Minister was awaiting full details on the case before deciding on what action to take. The spokesman said that, in view of previous decisions in such cases taken by the Ministry, it could be assumed that Dr. Soblen would not be given the immigrant visa to which every Jew is entitled under the Law of the Return. The spokesman noted that on a number of occasions Israel had emphasized that it would not serve as a refuge for criminals from other countries.