Sapir Accuses USSR of Double-dealing on Providing Exit Visas to Jews

Pinhas Sapir accused the Soviet Union yesterday of deliberately issuing exit visas to Jews who had no intention of going to Israel in order to prove that Soviet Jews seeking emigration had no interest in Israel.

In a radio interview, Sapir, who is chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives charged that the Soviet authorities continued to take measures against Jews seeking to immigrate to Israel, including the interrogation and arrests of aliya activists. The measures were designed to intimidate Jews who want to go to Israel, Sapir said.

He also reported on continuing efforts to increase emigration from Western countries by easing the absorption process in Israel. He said there was less bureaucratic red tape, an easier housing situation and generally more job opportunities in Israel than in some Western countries. Consequently, he said, there were initial signs of increased immigration from the West.

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