NEW YORK (Feb. 10)
Five days before returning to her new home, Israel, Ruth Aleksandrovich Averbuch predicted today that “in a few years” all Soviet Jews will want to go there. The anti-Semitic atmosphere they live in, she explained, makes it certain that they “will never be assimilated, quite.” Mrs. Averbuch, who has been recovering from what she describes only as a “very private” discomfiture, made her comments in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
It is now four months since she was released from a Soviet prison after serving a year for “anti-Soviet activities,” and she reportedly has been suffering aftereffects from her prison treatment. The 24-year-old nurse charged that the recent increase in Jewish emigration permission was “not a result of the kindness and humanity” of the Soviet authorities, but an attempt to fabricate a democratic aura in advance of President Nixon’s visit to the Kremlin in May. “I never believe them, because I know tomorrow it can be changed,” she remarked.
She urged Nixon to make a public issue of the situation instead of relying primarily on quiet diplomacy: “I hope that during his visit he will speak loudly of it–maybe before his visit.” Nixon should not be afraid of sabotaging US-USSR relations, she insisted, saying of the Soviets: “They need them too much.” She added: “If Soviet Jews are not afraid for themselves, we have no right to be afraid for them.”
In this connection, she noted that the activist urge is not limited to the younger generation of Soviet Jews, but that there are a number of older ones who risk recriminations for their actions. She cited the case of a Dr. Pinus of Riga, a sexagenarian who with his wife and children lost their jobs after he applied for emigration. Mrs. Averbuch described the Jewish Defense League as “more an American problem than a Soviet problem,” and observed of Rabbi Meir Kahane that “If the Soviet press writes he is bad, he is good.” She said she had found the US to be a “very interesting” country–but that Israel was definitely her home.