JERUSALEM (Mar. 27)
Rallies in support of Soviet Jewry were held throughout Israel today with two major ones at the Western Wall in the Old City here and in Tel Aviv’s Hamedina Square. The rallies were called to mark the deterioration in the situation of Soviet Jews and to highlight their inability to observe Passover, the festival of freedom, in freedom.
Observers believed the timing was also intended to coincide with U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance’s visit to Moscow where the general human rights issue, and the specific Jewish rights issue, are thought likely to come up.
At the Western Wall, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren observed that one quarter of the Jewish nation could not yet say on seder night “this year we are neighboring — free men.” Foreign Minister Yigal Allon said 60 years of Bolshevik oppression had not stilled the Jewish spirit. The Jews of the Soviet Union were still throbbing with Jewish life and faith, he said.
Hebrew University president Avraham Harman read a letter received from seven aliya activists asking men of goodwill everywhere to plead with the Kremlin for free exit for Jews. Recent immigrant and former Jewish activist Prof. Alexander Luntz also spoke to the crowd of some 2000, mainly young Orthodox people. In Tel Aviv a crowd of some 2000 heard Likud Knesseter Benzion Keshet say that Israelis were not doing enough to help their Jewish brethren in the USSR to get out.