Leningrad Hebrew Teacher Arrested and Sentenced to 10 Days in Jail

Lev Furman, one of two licensed Hebrew teachers in Leningrad, was arrested on July 15, during a Hebrew class and sentenced to 10 days imprisonment on grounds of “disobedience,” the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry reported today. No other details of court procedure were available.

Furman, recipient of the Chazar Bible Prize from Israel, now earns his living as an official Hebrew teacher after having unsuccessfully struggled for legal recognition with the Soviet authorities. The 30-year-old engineer was dismissed from his job after applying for a visa in 1974. His application has been refused on grounds of his knowledge of state secrets.

Furman’s father, Mikhail Furman, a Communist Party member, was arrested two months ago and warned to convince his son to cease his refusnik associations and activities. When he refused, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail for allegedly “breaching public peace.” Mikhail Furman consequently resigned his party membership.

In a related development, the Conference reported that II Moscow activists were told to appear before the KGB in separate investigations this week. On Monday, Ernest Akselrod, Dmitri Shiglik, Aron Gurevich and Arkady Polushik were called in. Gurevich and Polushik did not appear for “technical reasons.” Yesterday, Yakov Rakhlenko and Boris Chernobilsky were told to appear; today, Leonid Volvovsky; and tomorrow, Mikhail Kremen and his wife Galina and Grigory Vigdarov and his wife Mania.

Observers, the Conference reported, feel that this large group of investigations is tied in with the case of Anatoly Sharanksy, now being investigated on possible charges of treason. In the past few months, friends and acquaintances of Sharansky have been called in for the investigation.

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