An Israeli and Two Former Soviet Jews Told to Halt U.S. Tour on Behalf of Soviet Jewry

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has ordered two former Soviet Jews and an Israeli woman, Miss Geulah Cohen, to halt a tour of the United States intended to arouse public opinion over the plight of Russian Jewry. Foreign Minister Abba Eban disclosed this in reply to questions in the Knesset today. He said the three had not coordinated their plans with the Foreign Ministry. Mr. Eban explained that with all due alarm over the fate of Soviet Jews, his Ministry must make efforts not to halt the trickle of Jews who are allowed to leave the Soviet Union.

In reply to another question, Mr. Eban said that 73 parliaments have received Israel’s appeal that they identify with the concern expressed by the Knesset over the denial of rights to Jews in the Soviet Union, including the right to emigrate. He said the appeal was issued at a time when most parliaments are in recess. Nevertheless, it has been endorsed by Switzerland, Costa Rica and The Netherlands and is under “active consideration” by the parliaments of ten other nations, Mr. Eban said.

The Foreign Minister will leave on an official visit to West Germany and the Benelux countries next week. At a news conference last night he said Israel could not lay down any conditions for a cessation of its bombing of Egypt because there are security considerations involved which cannot be made public. He said that whoever is against escalation of the Middle East fighting should use their influence with Egypt, not with Israel which is ready for full, mutual observance of the cease-fire.

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