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Special to the JTA Two Federations Urge That Aid Be Halted to Soviet Jewish Dropouts

One of the more lively sessions at the 48th General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations in Montreal Nov. 14-18 may very well be on the issue of Soviet Jewish dropouts. At least two Federations have indicated that they will present resolutions on this issue which some observers say may produce fireworks.

The two resolutions, one by the United Jewish Community of Bergen County (New Jersey), and the other by the Jewish Community Council of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, affirm that Soviet Jews who arrive in Vienna with Israeli visas must go to Israel and that Federations in the United States should no longer be financially responsible for aiding in their resettlement in this country.

Both resolutions also state that those Soviet Jews for whom the Federations have already assumed responsibility will receive the requisite aid. The Oklahoma resolution adds that “A Russian Jew who arrives in a local community through any means” should be aided In resettling.

The Bergen County resolution, which was passed 34-14, reaffirms “total support for the present policy of using world Jewish charitable funds and human resources to help all Jews exercise their right to emigrate from the Soviet Union” and that Soviet Jews “will receive our total support for the use of world Jewish charitable funds and human resources to aid all Jews to immigrate to Israel and be ‘resettled’ in Israel.”


The resolution adds that Soviet Jews “will have the right to resettle anywhere else in the world, doing so by utilizing family or personal resources. We declare that the United Jewish Community of Bergen County shall not allocate any future funds or human resources, nor accept any additional Russian Jews for resettlement in Bergen County.”

The Oklahoma City resolution, which was adopted by the Community Council’s executive committee, stated that “mindful of the need for increased immigration to Israel,” the Council “requests that the UJA (United Jewish Appeal), JDC (Joint Distribution Committee), HIAS and its member communities take positive steps to insure that all Russian Jews who arrive in Vienna with Israeli visas be sent without delay to Israel.”

A spokesman for HIAS said that neither his organization nor the JDC, both of which are beneficiaries of the UJA, ever initiate contact with Soviet Jews in Vienna to discuss resettlement with them. The two service organizations discuss resettlement only after the Jewish Agency in Vienna, which handles transmigrant Soviet Jews, recommends to the JDC and HIAS those who insist that they do not want to emigrate to Israel. Even then, the HIAS spokesman said, his organization seeks by every means possible to first ascertain that the Soviet Jew in question is convinced that he or she does not want to go to Israel.