USSR Cuts Back on Jewish Emigration

The Soviet Union has cut back by seven percent last year’s emigration of Jews to Israel and it may eventually be less than 15 percent. This was reported last night by Richard Maass, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry on the “Victor Reisel Interviews” on Radio-WEVD.–Maass said that from 400,000-500,000 Jews would emigrate if given the opportunity, while some two million Soviet Jews would stay.

Appearing with Maass was Jacob Stein, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Nicholas Scoppetta, New York City commissioner of investigation, who recently returned from a trip to the Soviet Union where he met with Soviet officials and Soviet Jewish leaders. Stein revealed that during a visit to the White House in April, President Nixon told Jewish leaders he would raise the question of Soviet Jews with Soviet leaders at every opportunity. “He made this pledge and kept it in good faith,” Stein said.

Both Maass and Stein reported that contrary to published reports there had been “little progress” from their meetings with Dr. Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s national security advisor.

Stein said that Israel had 22 absorption centers that have in the past two years taken care of 50,000 Soviet Jews. He said Israel can do even more and American Jews were prepared to aid in this work.

Scoppetta, a prominent member of the Lindsay Administration, repeated what he said upon his return from the Soviet Union that Soviet officials insisted that there was no Jewish problem in the USSR. But from talking to Jews in Leningrad, Moscow and Kiev, Scoppetta said he got a picture of extreme harassment and “excessive punishment for desiring to emigrate.”

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