Former Prime Minister Wilson Pledges to Use Influence to Help Soviet Jews
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Former Prime Minister Wilson Pledges to Use Influence to Help Soviet Jews

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A group of Soviet newcomers issued a personal appeal last night to visiting former Prime Minister Harold Wilson of Britain asking him to bring pressure on Soviet authorities so that their friends and relatives would be permitted to emigrate to Israel. Wilson met with the Soviet emigres during a 30-minute visit to the Mevassert Zion absorption center near Jerusalem.

Wilson asked the Israel Foreign Ministry officials to gather “all the particulars” on the Soviet Jews so that he could later try to use his influence with the Soviets. After the meeting, Wilson told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he was “continuing” to pursue the issue of Soviet Jewry with the Russian officials all the time.

Louis Pincus, chairman of the Jewish Agency, who conducted the meeting between the British leader and the Soviet newcomers, said that of the 900 Soviet Jewish intellectuals coming to Israel during the past three months, 600 have been forced to pay the education tax and the other 300 did not. But a Soviet woman mathematician told Wilson that the diploma tax was not the fundamental problem of Soviet Jews seeking exit. She said “our hardest problem” is getting permission to leave.

Wilson showed particular Interest in one of the newcomers, Ruth Alexandrovitch, who suffered an extended stay in a Soviet jail before she migrated to Israel more than a year ago. She told the visiting British statesman that “I know how much you did for me so I am asking that you do something for my friend, Sylva Zalmanson.” She told Wilson she did not think Mrs. Zalmanson would survive the ten-year sentence she is serving at the Potma forced labor camp.

Meanwhile, Viktor Yachut, the young Jewish physicist from Moscow, arrived last night via Vienna with a group of emigrants from Russia. Yachut was among a number of Jewish activists who were drafted into the Red Army during President Nixon’s visit last May to Moscow.

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