BRUSSELS (Feb. 16)
Three-quarters of a million Soviet Jews want to leave the Soviet Union and emigrate to Israel, Stanley H. Lowell, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, one of the convening bodies of Brussels II said here today. Lowell, in reply to questions from newsmen told a press conference here this morning that this figure “was discreetly indicated to us by the Soviet authorities themselves in one of their calmer moments.”
Lowell said the situation of Soviet Jewry “has definitely become part of the relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.” He said the issue of Soviet Jewry has resulted in changes between the two countries. He listed three major purposes of the conference:
“To make clear to the leaders of the Soviet government the strength of our identification with the three million Jews of the USSR and of our determination that they will win their struggle; to tell the Jews of the Soviet Union that they are not alone, that their cause is our cause and that we continue to take fresh inspiration from their incredible courage; and to serve as a signal to the free world of the unity of all those who have joined the Soviet Jewish struggle.”
Lowell said a major purpose of Brussels II will be to draw attention “to the ever harsher Soviet policy towards Jews seeking to emigrate and to the Soviet government’s failure to live up to the 1975 Helsinki agreement on the free movement of people and ideas.”
SHARP INCREASE IN ANTI-SEMITISM
A recent Soviet immigrant to Israel, Dr. Alexander Voronel, warned that official Soviet anti-Semitism has increased “sharply and alarmingly” since the Yom Kippur War. Voronel, who was granted permission to emigrate to Israel last year after a three-year wait, spoke of “growing pressure on those who apply to emigrate, including the use of enforced military conscription, arrest, trial and prison sentences.”
Thirty recent Soviet Jewish immigrants to Israel are attending the conference. Among them is Mery Knoch, whose husband is serving a 10-year prison term for treason, and Sylva Zalmanson whose husband, Eduard Kuznetsov, is serving 15 years on the same charge.