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Israel Embassy Says Belgian Press Distorts Picture of Soviet Jews Who Emigrate from Israel

The Israel Embassy here has protested against various articles appearing in the Belgian press which “give a distorted picture to the public” about the emigration of Soviet Jews from Israel. The Embassy underlined that Israel recognizes the right of all Jews to freely immigrate to Israel or emigrate from there to another country.

“It is regrettable but understandable that among the more than 100,000 persons who have recently come to Israel, a small percentage–about 1700–have not been able to integrate themselves into Israeli society” the official communique declared. “This is a phenomena which occurs in all migration to whatever country, and often in considerably higher proportions.” Within recent weeks, some 600 Soviet Jews have left Israel for Belgium in hopes of immigrating to other countries, notably the United States and Canada.

The Embassy statement went on to declare that the decisions of Jewish organizations outside of Israel are made independently of the Israeli government, thus denying a report that the Israeli government had a veto over such decisions. Jewish social organizations in Belgium are giving what assistance they can to the Russian families, particularly those with the most urgent financial needs.