JERUSALEM (Aug. 31)
Efforts to send to Soviet Jews a supply of ethrogim, Israeli grown citrons used in rites celebrating the holiday of Succoth, have thus far failed. Requests for permits addressed to the Soviet authorities remain unanswered, it was reported here today. Succoth starts the evening of September 20.
Privately, some Israelis have been sending ethrogim to their relatives in the Soviet Union, hoping the citrons will reach the addressees. (See related story on Page 4.)
While Novosti, an official Soviet news agency whose dispatches are published only abroad and not in the USSR, issued a report from Moscow today about the readiness of Moscow’s Central Synagogue to hold Rosh Hashanah services, another Soviet organ, officially published by the Government for Soviet readers, continued its attacks on Israeli diplomats.
Trud, the mouthpiece of the Soviet trade union movement, which has been frequently used by the Soviet apparatus for spreading attacks against Israelis, equating Judaism with Zionism, has launched a fresh attack against Israelis in the USSR. It accused Moshe Zimrat, second secretary of the Israeli legation in Moscow, Mrs. Zimrat and Mr. and Mrs. Yehuda Katz, the latter an employee of the Israeli mission, of passing out “nationalistic Zionist literature” among Jews in Riga, Kiev and other large cities; (The New York Times quoted Trud as saying that three members of the Central Synagogue have been suspended for six months for having contacts with the Israelis. The three were identified, without first names, as Feldsher, Vilenchik and Genin.)
Experts here on Soviet affairs pointed out today that “Novosti is blowing hot, while Trud is blowing cold.” They said that Novosti is trying to influence public sentiment abroad in response to worldwide protests against Soviet denial of full religious cultural rights to Russian Jews. At the same time, they noted, Trud is “setting the line” for Soviet citizens, attempting to discourage USSR Jews from attending High Holy Day services, by linking Jewish worship with false charges against Israelis.
One reason for the timing of the Trud attack, the experts said, is that, in recent years, between 10,000 and 15,000 Russian Jews, most of them young people, have been flocking to the synagogues in Leningrad and Moscow during High Holy Day services. “Trud is trying to scare them into staying away from the synagogues on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur,” the sources pointed out.