Head Tax Waiver May Be Tactical Move, Not Change of Policy

The recent exemption of some Jews leaving the Soviet Union from paying the education head tax was described by Foreign Minister Abba Eban in the Knesset today as a “welcome event.” But he cautioned against speculation that the discriminatory tax may have been abrogated. “We have to see whether the exemptions are a one-time thing or whether they are the beginning of some kind of change” in Soviet policy, Eban said. He warned that the selective exemptions could be merely a “tactical move” by the Russians to mollify world opinion.

The Knesset passed by a 55-2 vote a motion calling for action to alleviate the plight of Soviet Jews, especially those in prisons. The motion was urged by Gahal leader Menachem Beigin who accused the Soviet regime of “encouraging anti-Semitism.” Only the New Communist faction voted against it.

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