Anger, Anxiety Increases over Fate of Defendants and Jews in Soviet Union

Anger boiled over in Israel today over the Leningrad trial, coupled with anxiety for the fate of the Jewish defendants. Petitions demanding an end to the trial and release of the prisoners poured into the Finnish Embassy here. Finland has handled Soviet affairs in Israel since Moscow severed diplomatic relations during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. One of the petitions was signed by 12,000 persons in Haifa. Copies were sent to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Another petition was delivered by the Betar youth movement which demonstrated in front of the Embassy today. Yeroham Meshel, acting secretary general of Histadrut, cabled the International Federation of Free-Trade Unions a request to intercede with Soviet authorities on behalf of the Leningrad defendants. A similar appeal was sent by the Israeli Editors Association to the World Federation of Periodical Editors.

A huge student rally was held on the Tel Aviv University campus, addressed by students, faculty members and a Jew from Russia. Knesset member Tzvi Zimmerman addressed students on the plight of Soviet Jews at a Haifa University campus rally last night. Housing Minister Zeev Sharef, speaking at Merom Hagalil settlement likened Soviet Communist Party chief Leonid Brezhnev and his colleagues to the arch-pogromist of the 17th century Bogdan Chmielnicki who butchered an estimated 300,000 Jews in the Ukraine. Sharef said the Israel government and people are behind the Jews in the Leningrad dock. Bar-Ilan University announced that it will change its name for one day tomorrow to “The Silent Jews University” in a gesture of solidarity with Soviet Jewry.

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