Tucson (Oct. 27)
Jews in the Soviet Union who want to remain Jews must leave now and go to Israel, two recent emigres from the Soviet Union said here this weekend. Traveling with the Soviet Jewry Freedom Bus from Seattle to Washington, D.C. are Tsipora Wolf, 25, and Illia Wolk, 27, Soviet activists now living in Israel with their families. Miss Wolf and Wolk agreed that all the letters sent to Soviet officials and all the protests and demonstrations help pressure the Soviet government to react to public opinion, but called for more protests to the US government and to American officials.
Pointing out that this is an election year, the three Americans traveling with them stressed that this is the year to put pressure on President Nixon. Nixon will have to act this year, but it may be another four years before the President will be sensitive to the problem again, they said. Wolk said many of the Jews who are being allowed to leave the Soviet Union are activists. “They saw it was impossible to jail all the activists.” Miss Wolf said. She added that most of her friends are in jail now. Both Miss Wolf and Wolk said they had been arrested by the KGB and interrogated many times for “Zionist activities.”
Wolk waited 14 years after applying for his first visa to go to Israel before the Soviet authorities granted him permission to leave. Miss Wolf waited only three and a half years. Each of their families then had to pay the price of $1,000 per adult to leave. Wolk pointed out that before the Six Day War visas to leave the Soviet Union could be applied for twice a year, while after the war they were reduced to once a year. When asked why, Wolk replied, “In the Soviet Union you don’t ask why, it’s just as they do.”
Wolk said, “The way and the methods of the Jewish Defense League are not the best–violence and shooting are no good.” The results are interesting though, he said, because for the first time, the question of Soviet Jewry was discussed in the UN General Assembly after the sniper firing on the Soviet Embassy last week. Miss Wolf said that the JDL started as a very good organization but said she was not in favor of violence or the endangering of human lives.