Moscow Jews Scuffle with Police

Moscow Jews scuffled with Soviet police for possession of an Israeli flag during a Succoth picnic Sunday in a woodland area about 20 miles from Moscow. The police withdrew after a high-ranking officer received a bloody nose, leaving the flag intact. The incident was reported by telephone yesterday by Eddi Berna, coach of the Israeli weight lifting team that participated in an international tournament in Moscow last week.

Berna said the weight lifters and members of an Israeli wrestling team, also in the USSR for a tournament, guarded the flag but did not participate in the scuffle which involved about 100 Jews and about 300 policemen. He said the police took photographs of the Israelis and apparently were trying to provoke them into joining the fray.

Meir Meshel, captain of the weight lifting team, said he lodged a complaint with the organizing committee of the tournament and demanded an apology from the police. He was told by one official, “You Israelis came here to cause provocations,” Meshel reported. He said he would apply to international sports organizations to reconsider their choice of the Soviet Union to host the 1980 Olympic Games.

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