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A Russian Jew, Seeking to Emigrate to Israel, Cites Jan, 13 As Ominous Date for Jews

An ominous date in the life of the Soviet Jewish community–January 13–is cited in a letter from a Russian Jew to the Moscow daily Pravda which the newspaper did not publish but which has reached the offices of the American Jewish Congress here. The letter, signed by Chaim Rabinovich, a 55-year-old engineer seeking to emigrate to Israel, denounced the current Soviet anti-Zionist campaign and particularly the use of Jewish citizens to attack Israel. Mr. Rabinovich, who gave his address as 66 Izmailovsky Boulevard in Moscow, noted that it was on January 13, 1953, that the “infamous campaign that became known as the ‘doctors’ plot” was launched and that prominent Jewish citizens attacked the Jewish physicians. On January 13,1970, he noted, the names of Soviet Jewish citizens were again published in Pravda to attack Israel and Zionism. On January 13,1948, American Jewish Congress officials recalled here, Solomon Michaels, director and star of the Yiddish State Theatre in Moscow, was murdered by Stalin’s secret police.

In his letter to Pravda, Mr. Rabinovich said that after he had applied for emigration to Israel he was “transferred to an inferior position, not in my profession.” When his application was rejected he applied again. This time, he wrote, “the possibility has arisen concerning my dismissal from the plant.” As a result, he continued, “a family of four persons will live on my wife’s pension (invalid–2nd grade) amounting to 39 rubles, “Yet no matter how difficult things may be. I shall not give up my desire to live with my people.” Declaring that as a Jew he could not be neutral concerning Arab threats to destroy Israel, he wrote that “In the 21 years of its existence, Jews from all countries rushed there to build their state. From the Arab countries alone 400,000 Jews emigrated. From the USSR too there has been a partial emigration to Israel. Comrade Kosygin publicly stated in Paris, in 1966, that the Government of the USSR does not impede the unification of families. Yet, I have submitted my emigration documents several times and been refused each time.”

In the United Nations, the urgency of the plight of Soviet Jews and the need for support for their requests to emigrate to Israel were conveyed to Secretary General U Thant in a 40-minute meeting Friday evening by Yosef Tekoah, the Israel Ambassador to the United Nations. The envoy provided additional information to the Secretary General on expressions by Soviet Jews of their wish to receive permission to emigrate. A general discussion of the problem took place during the meeting, it was Indicated, UN officials said it was “purely coincidental” that Ambassador Yacob Malik of the Soviet Union was scheduled as Mr. Thant’s next appointment, immediately after the Israeli diplomat.

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