JERUSALEM (Jan. 22)
Foreign Minister Yigal Allon reiterated today Israel’s determination to fight for Soviet Jewry’s right to emigrate. Speaking at the Knesset, in reply to an agenda motion presented after the Soviets cancelled the 1972 trade agreement with the U.S., Allon said there were few subjects on which the Jewish people was as unified as the right of Soviet Jewry to emigrate.
“This struggle has been, still is and will be a central struggle of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel,” Allon said. He said he shared the concern expressed by some MKs over the effect of the cancellation of the trade bill on Soviet emigration. However, he noted that the intensive campaign for Soviet emigration had proceeded the negotiations over the trade bills.
Allon told the Knesset that he brought the subject up in his talks last week with President Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. “The two expressed understanding for our concern, and for the fate of Soviet Jewry, and they were willing to continue assisting us on that subject,” Allon said.
He said he also consulted leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on the possibility of a massive campaign for Jewish emigration from the USSR “to avoid a major tragedy of a great Jewish community” if the Soviets indeed cast an Iron Curtain between Soviet Jews and other parts of the Jewish people, as a punishment for their disappointment with the trade bill.