TEL AVIV (Jun. 26)
Five American Jewish students who claim they were kept under virtual house arrest for two days during a visit to Russia last week, accused the FBI today of trying to block their trip to the USSR and said the KGB (Soviet secret police) “cooperated with the FBI.”
The five students are members of the militant Betar youth group of the Zionists-Revisionists movement and are believed to be sympathizers of the Jewish Defense League. Their trip to Russia and to Israel where they arrived today, was financed by the United Zionists-Revisionists which is ideologically linked to Israel’s Herut Party.
Gordon Soldar, 23, of New York, leader of the group, said the FBI tried to persuade them not to go to Russia. He said he and his fellow students “felt this is legal, to go and demonstrate there for the rights of Russian Jews.” He said FBI agents were at Kennedy Airport when they left New York and “tried to dissuade as from going, but we went.”
Soldar said that at the Moscow airport they were separated from other passengers while their luggage was thoroughly inspected and then taken to the airport hotel where they were confined to a single room “almost as prisoners.” He said, “We could not even get in touch with the American Embassy for two days. He said the Russians finally allowed them to contact the Embassy. They were finally taken to the airport and put on a plane for Istanbul. Soldar said the Russians who searched their luggage claimed they were looking for narcotics.