Tekoah: ‘an Exorbitant Tax’ UN Gets Protest over Severe Exit Fees for Soviet Jews

The Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Yosef Tekoah, protested yesterday to the UN against the “new repressive measures decreed by the government of the Soviet Socialist Republic against Jews who desire to reunite with their families and their people in Israel.” Tekoah presented Marc Schreiber, chief of the UN Division of Human Rights, with a letter denouncing the new charges as “so exorbitant a tax” on those who wish to leave the Soviet Union that “they virtually deprive Jews of their fundamental human rights to do so.”

Tekoah noted that until the beginning of 1971 the fee for an exit visa from the Soviet Union was 40 rubles. Since then, he said, prospective emigrants had been charged 940 rubles. Under the new regulations adopted Aug. 3, Tekoah said, an immigrant with an academic education must pay an additional surcharge which ranges from $4800 for liberal arts graduates to $26,400 for holders of a Ph.D. degree.

Since, he added, the earnings of individuals in the above categories range from $133 to $330 a month “it is obvious that the new regulations are a grave blow to the possibility of such persons exercising their rights to leave the Soviet Union.” Moreover, he continued, Jewish citizens of the Soviet Union who apply for permission to emigrate, especially if they belong to such categories, are generally dismissed from their work and assigned to menial tasks.

Tekoah declared that “The tenacious efforts of Soviet Jews to vindicate their rights as Jews are one of the most epic struggles for human rights of our time. This struggle has earned the support of governments international organizations, public figures and general world opinion. The latest measures of oppression and discrimination are not only contrary to the tenets of the United Nations Charter and international law, but contravene the principals to which the Soviet Union itself proclaims adherence.”

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