Students Detained in Kiev Had Been Trying to Find out Needs of Soviet Jews Studying Hebrew

Two students from Ohio who were detained for two-and-a-half hours and released by Soviet authorities in Kiev are in London today where they plan to file a protest with the United States Embassy there, according to the father of one of the students. Dr. Louis Rosenblum told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by telephone from Cleveland that his daughter Miriam, 20, and Sheldon Benjamin, 18, both students at the University of Cincinnati, were trying to find out the needs of Soviet Jews who are studying Hebrew at ulpanim throughout the Soviet Union.

Dr. Rosenblum said in Moscow alone there are 800 students of all ages but mostly young people learning Hebrew. He said they desperately need Hebrew books and students have written frequently from Moscow and Leningrad to the Israeli government seeking the books.

The two students were arrested at a farewell party for Zolo Torevsky, a Kiev film director who was leaving the next day for Israel. Dr. Rosenblum said the two students were charged with stealing several items from the home, but there was nothing in the apartment since everything had already been shipped to Israel. Dr. Rosenblum said the students had been “roughed up some.”

Dr. Rosenblum, a former president of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry, said the arrest was part of the Soviet policy to try to discourage tourists from meeting with Soviet Jews. The two students are now going to Israel to work on kibbutzim.

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