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400 in Fast at Western Wall

Some 400 recent Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union and Israelis participated in a hunger strike today at the Western Wall to call President Nixon’s attention to the struggle for Jewish emigration rights and the arrest of Jewish activists in the Soviet Union. The strike began Monday with 100 persons and has since then increased to its present size. The strikers displayed placards calling on the Kremlin to “Let My People Go,” and urging Nixon to raise the issue in his talks with Soviet leaders.

Foreign Minister Abba Eban visited the strikers and told them that Nixon is likely to take up the question of Soviet Jewry in a “constructive manner” during his current visit to Moscow. Eban said he based his prediction on talks held by him and other Israeli officials with American officials in Washington when Eban was in the US earlier this year. President Zalman Shazar, Cabinet Ministers, and the entire Zionist Executive Plenum visited the strikers at the Wall this afternoon. The chairman of the Executive, Louis Pincus, said that not only Israel but the entire Jewish people support them in their struggle.

The Executive decided today to send a communication to Nixon and also to all the other governments in the world to ask support for the demands of the Soviet Jews. The Executive also sent wishes for a speedy recovery to Raiza Palatnik who was reported to have suffered a heart attack. Rabbi Israel Miller, president of the American Zionist Federation, expressed the support of American Jewry for the strikers. The fast will continue, strikers said, until Nixon ends his visit to the Soviet Union.

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