Israeli Mayors in USSR Subjected to Indignities; Synagogue Service Was Moving Event

A delegation of Israeli mayors who attended the Congress of the International Federation of Twin Cities in Leningrad last week reported yesterday that some of them were stripped naked by Soviet authorities who searched their persons and their baggage before they were permitted to leave the Soviet Union. A member of the delegation, Eliahu Speiser of Tel Aviv, reported the worst indignity was suffered at Leningrad Airport. “Some of us were stripped naked,” Mr. Speiser said. “They searched our attache cases and the bottoms of our suitcases. They seemed to be looking for books and other written material. For a while we thought their intention was to prevent our departure from Russia altogether. It was only after an hour’s search that they stamped our passports and let us go,” he said, according to Mr. Speiser’s report. The only redeeming aspect of their trip to Russia was the mayors’ attendance at Saturday morning services at the Leningrad Synagogue where their presence caused “great excitement.”

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