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Almogi Says There is No Abatement in Drop-out Among Soviet Jewry

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Yosef Almogi, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives, said today that the incidence of drop-outs among Jews who leave the Soviet Union is showing no abatement. On the other hand, he said, allay from France was encouraging and, even more so, the volunteer movement which, he said, is yielding between one-quarter and one-third of the olim. He said he expected the allay rate to remain at about 20,000 in 1977, the same as last year, unless unforeseen developments change the picture.

Speaking to reporters in his office here, Almogi disclosed that the drop-out rate ranges between 49-58 percent of Soviet Jewish emigres. He said that 1300 Jews left the USSR in January of whom 708 or 58 percent did not go to Israel. In February, 1000 Jews left the USSR but 523 remained in Europe awaiting visas to go to countries other than Israel.

Almogi said that 15,000 volunteers came to Israel in 1976, compared to 11,000 the previous year. Volunteers are persons who spend a year or longer working in Israel while they decide whether to remain here permanently. Almogi said that the entire student body and faculty of the Yeshiva Hafetz Haim in the U.S. will come to Israel for a year with the possibility of becoming olim.

Almogi will attend the meeting of the presidium of the Brussels Conference for Soviet Jewry, of which he is chairman, and its Steering Committee which convene in Geneva next Monday. He will also attend a meeting of the World Jewish Congress Executive in Geneva to deal with the current situation confronting Jews in the USSR, Syria and other Arab countries.

Almogi pointed out that these meetings coincide with a renewed assault on Soviet Jewish aliya activists by the Soviet authorities. He referred to attempts to link Jewish activists with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and mounting harassment of Jews seeking exit visas. According to Almogi, the atmosphere in the Soviet Union now can be compared to the climate that prevailed in the early 1950s, the time of the alleged “doctors plot” and the purge of Jewish intellectuals under Stalin.

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