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Jews in Major Soviet Centers Plan Hunger Strike over Visa Hikes

Jewish sources in the Soviet Union reported today that Jews in major Soviet centers will hold a mass hunger strike at the end of this week to protest the new exit taxes being levied on academics who desire to go to Israel. The final details have not been worked out yet, the sources said, but the strike is scheduled to be carried out simultaneously in Moscow, Riga, Leningrad, Vilna, Odessa, Kharkov and other cities.

Jewish circles in the Soviet Union now fear that high school graduates who have not yet entered the university, may also be required to pay an exit tax similar to that which was announced last week. Academics are now being required to pay fees of up to approximately $25,000 in order to leave the Soviet Union, Jewish sources revealed last week.

The academics concerned in the new development say they hope that the world-wide protests of Jews and non-Jews alike will cause the Soviet government to change its mind, the sources reported. Sixty-two academics have dispatched a letter to the Supreme Soviet protesting the exit fee. They have also asked the Communist Party for an interview. No reply was received.

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