JERUSALEM (Nov. 28)
The Jewish Agency’s immigration and absorption department claimed today that it had evidence of at least three instances in which “Communist provocateurs” sought to provoke discontent among recent Jewish emigres from Soviet Georgia. A spokesman for the department told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the provocateurs were members of Israel’s pro-Moscow New Communist Party (Rakah) and described them as old-time Israelis, not themselves immigrants from the USSR. None have been apprehended but even if they were, it was considered doubtful that they could be charged with any offense under criminal law.
Last Friday, the directors of the country’s 60 immigrant hostels and absorption centers were alerted to watch out for “Communist provocateurs” allegedly inciting new immigrants from the Soviet Union to return there or to send despairing letters to relatives complaining of their conditions in Israel. Director General Uzi Narkiss of the Jewish Agency’s immigration and absorption department said in a circular letter to the hostel leaders that he had heard of “a few” such cases of incitement in recent weeks.
Jewish Agency sources said at the time that the rumors had not been substantiated but that it was considered adviseable to alert immigration personnel. As a result of the alert, strangers found at the hostels and absorption centers will be asked to leave if they cannot give a satisfactory explanation for their presence. But no guards will be posted, Jewish Agency sources said.
Immigration officials have been unable to track down a letter allegedly written to Soviet leaders by 11 Georgian emigres requesting permission to return to Russia. Jewish Agency and Absorption Ministry authorities believe the reported letter may be a fabrication. Neither the Agency nor the Ministry have received applications for return. Some families have asked for passports but not to go to the Soviet Union.