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5000 Join Hunger Strikers at Wailing Wall; Fast to Continue Until Trial Ends

Two dozen Russian immigrants who have been fasting at the Wailing Wall since the Leningrad trial began five days ago were joined today by some 5000 people from many parts of Israel to demonstrate their solidarity with the Jews of the Soviet Union. Sunday is a regular working day in Israel. The hunger strikers were also Joined by Premier Golda Meir and the entire Cabinet which adjourned its weekly meeting at noon. Knesset members, mayors, and heads of workers’ councils addressed the demonstration and pledged to do their utmost to pressure Soviet authorities to end their policy of repression against the Jews. The hunger strikers said they would continue their fast until the Leningrad trial ends. For the past five days they have been subsisting on tea. Mrs. Meir said in a radio interview yesterday that there was no solution to the “Jewish problem” in Russia except to permit the Jews who wanted to emigrate to Israel.

She assailed the “fake trial” in Leningrad which, she declared, had only one aim, to frighten and discredit Jews in Russia. She warned that this “outrageous trial” could be the fore-runner of “terrible consequences” for the 3.5 million Jews of Russia. The hunger strikers at the Wailing Wall interrupted their hunger strike on the Sabbath. They were invited to dine with Deputy Premier Yigal Allon whose official residence is nearby. They spent several hours telling of their experiences in the Soviet Union. Some reportedly warned the repression of Jews would worsen unless something is done quickly to extricate them from the USSR. The fasters were visited by 400 doctors and nurses from Hadassah Hospital today. A group of high school pupils visited them this morning.

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