Soviets Forcing Jews to Pay for Academic Education Before Giving Exit Visas

While Russian Jewish immigrants continue to arrive in Israel, Soviet authorities are exacting a high price for allowing them to depart, according to a telephone report received from Moscow last night. The informant said that Jews holding academic degrees must pay sums of $5,500-$6,600 to compensate the Soviet government for the free education they received. Beginning next month, Jews leaving for Israel will not be able to take along their furniture or any single belonging valued at over $275, according to the report. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned meanwhile that five Jewish academicians who participated in recent hunger strikes in Riga and Wilna demanding action on their applications for exit permits have been informed by Soviet authorities that they will not get visas. Their names were given as Lieberman, Goldberg, Brisky, Moreh and Fedder.

More than 30 recent arrivals from the USSR, staging a hunger strike here to protest the trial of nine Jews in Kishinev, said today that they would continue the demonstration until the trial ends. The group includes the sisters of David Shor, one of the Kishinev defendants. They were visited today by Mayor Yehoshua Robinowitz of Tel Aviv and several city councilmen and yesterday by Tel Aviv’s new Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Goren and a delegation of the Tel Aviv Religious Council. The demonstrators have also been visited by school children and teachers. They are demanding the immediate release of the Kishinev nine and permission for them to go to Israel. A report on the flow of arrivals was given by Immigration and Absorption Minister Nathan Peled, who said in a radio interview Friday that a “fair” number of Jews have been allowed to leave the Soviet Union so far this year compared to previous years and expressed hope that the flow would continue. Israel has refused to disclose the exact number of Jews arriving from the USSR but unofficial estimates place it at well over 6,000 since the first of the year. Peled said Israel expected 11,000 immigrants from the United States this year compared to 9,000 last year. He said the fact that Israel managed to overcome the effects of the French arms embargo was due in large measure to the professional skills of new immigrants.

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