13 Immigrants from USSR Charge Israel ‘abandoning Soviet Jews’

Thirteen recent immigrants from the Soviet Union, all scientists, ended a week-long hunger strike outside the Prime Minister’s Office last night and repeated their charges that the Israeli government was damaging the cause of Soviet Jews. Mordechai Gazit, director general of the PM’s Office, said their charges were “shocking” and almost libelous.

But a spokesman for the group asserted last night that the government was “abandoning Soviet Jews.” He cited a recent remark by Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir that Israel’s immigration program should be based on an average of 50,000 newcomers a year from all countries. The spokesman alleged that this was a clear hint to the Soviet Union that Israel would be satisfied if no more than 30-35,000 Jews were allowed to leave the USSR each year.

The 13 were sharply criticized by Absorption Minister Natan Peled when they began their hunger strike April 18. Peled said they were falsely accusing the government of dragging its feet on the matter of Jewish emigration from Russia. He said they were apparently unaware of the “energetic struggle” being waged by Israel for abolition, of the education tax and an end to the harassment and imprisonment of Jews in the USSR.

West Germany’s Chancellor Willy Brandt will be accompanied by 100 German newsmen and scores more from other countries of the European Economic Community when he visits Israel in June, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today.

NEXT STORY