TEL AVIV (Feb. 3)
“Those who gave me the permit to go to Israel may not know it but they gave me the nicest present one can get–they gave me a new life. Coming to Israel is the greatest event in my 40 years of life.” So said Vitaly Svichinsky, the Soviet Jewish architect who was recently granted an emigration visa after continued protests against repression of Soviet Jewry. He arrived here last night with his wife, Liza, and their two children. Dev, lo, and Geulah, 2 months .Replying to questions at the airport, Svichinsky said he thought he and his family had been allowed to leave the Soviet Union because of “a combination of world public opinion, for which I am most thankful, and the outcry of Russian Jewry themselves.” He stated that “Without this outcry no Jew would have been permitted to go out.”
Svichinsky said the Leningrad trial of Jews and similar trials reported to be upcoming had only caused Soviet Jews to step up their demands to leave the country. The Muscovite estimated that 400,000 Soviet Jews wanted to go to Israel right now. Asked why he had become an activist for Zionism, Svichinsky replied: “It is a simple evolution, when you want to get back your national pride. There is no other reason. This is the truth.” Nearby his wife, with her son standing next to her and her baby in her arms, quietly wept for joy.