JERUSALEM (Apr. 28)
Thousands of students demonstrated on campuses in Israel’s three largest cities today in support of a Russian-Jewish mathematics student who reportedly set himself afire in Riga recently because he was refused permission to emigrate to Israel. The eyewitness reports, which were unconfirmed by any other sources, said that 21-year-old Ilya Ripps was beaten by Soviet marines and hauled off to jail after his attempted self-immolation. He was reportedly in the custody of the Soviet secret police. His condition is not known.
Over a thousand students on the Hebrew University campus here were addressed by University President Avraham Harman who wished Mr. Ripps a speedy recovery and condemned the Soviet treatment of its Jewish citizens. The Ministry of Education and Culture ordered public schools throughout the country to devote an hour a day to the plight of Russian Jews.
Hundreds of students at Tel Aviv University protested against the Soviet ban on emigration and declared their solidarity with Mr. Ritt. They urged the Israel Government to raise its voice on behalf of Russian Jews. At the Haifa University, hundreds of students listened to Prof. Eri Jabotinsky who said that young Ritt had become aware of his Jewishness only 18 months ago and thereafter devoted his life and was willing to sacrifice it for the freedom of his fellow Jews. Prof. Jabotinsky did not say where he got his information.
(British students massed outside the Soviet Embassy in London last night in a demonstration in support of Mr. Ritt organized by the Universities Committee for Soviet Jewry. They held a vigil and a hunger strike to demand Mr. Ripp’s release and permission for him to go to Israel.)