JERUSALEM (Jan. 27)
Former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan urged today that diaspora Jews send their young people to Israel “even if only for short periods” in order to “fire them with national pride” and thereby contribute to the continuity of the Jewish people.
Only Israel can “inject into them a feeling of being Jewish,” Dayan told the World Assembly of Jewish War Veterans here. He claimed that except for the Orthodox, it was becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between Jews in Western countries and their non-Jewish neighbors in either their lifestyles or thought processes.
Dayan noted that aliya figures were low and conceded that there were many unattractive features about life in Israel. But it is the very blemishes that should serve as a challenge to Jews to come to Israel and play a part in correcting them, he said. He suggested that “a major part” of the funds raised for Israel by Jews abroad should be channeled into projects to bring young Jews to the country for varying periods to make them aware of the “living history of the land.”
DULZIN REFUTES SOVIET ALIYA CLAIMS
Jewish Agency treasurer Leon Dulzin, addressing the same session of the war veterans’ assembly, refuted Soviet claims that aliya was down because Soviet Jews were no longer interested in emigrating to Israel. According to Dulzin, there are some 180,000 visa applications pending in the USSR but only 9000 Soviet Jews were permitted by the authorities to leave during 1975.
He said about 50,000 affidavits were sent from Israel to Jews in the Soviet Union in 1975 at the request of Jews seeking exit visas. He said the affidavits bore witness to family ties between the applicants and their relatives in Israel and helped people leave under the family reunification program which the Soviets say they honor.
Dulzin disclosed that since 1970,120,000 Jews left the Soviet Union and 106,000 of them came to Israel. Of the latter, about 5000 left subsequently to settle elsewhere. Dulzin said the World Conference on Soviet Jewry to be held in Brussels next month, would seek to open the gates wider for Russian Jews wishing to leave.