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Effort to Reduce Soviet Dropouts

Raphael Kotlowitz, head of the Jewish Agency’s immigration department, said today that a way must be found to fly Soviet Jewish emigres directly from the USSR to Israel, by-passing Vienna where, currently, up to 60 percent of them drop out–that is, choose to go to countries other than Israel, mainly the United States.

According to Kotlowitz, who just returned from a visit to Vienna, the Soviet Jews should, at least, have a glimpse of Israel and then, if they choose, can leave for other countries. He said one of the reasons for the high rate of dropouts was the presence of over 30,000 Soviet Jews in the U.S., themselves dropouts. This raises the question of family reunion, which is the technical grounds for the issuance of exit visas by the Soviet authorities, Kotlowitz noted. Everyone claims to have relatives in the U.S., he complained. Kotlowitz reported on his mission to Premier Menachem Begin.