Dulzin Says Nyc Jewish Community Leaders Are Main Obstacle to Begin’s Proposal on Issue of Drop-outs

Leon Dulzin, chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency Executives, charged that the leaders of the New York Jewish community were the main obstacle to Premier Menachem Begin’s “compromise proposal” on “drop-outs” — Soviet Jews who choose to go to the United States rather than Israel after they leave the Soviet Union. Dulzin claimed that other American Jewish communities were prepared to go along with Begin’s ideas.

If New York would respond favorably, the Joint Distribution Committee and HIAS, the two agencies assisting the emigrants, would also agree, Dulzin told the WZO Executive this week. Begin proposed that assistance should be Limited to those Soviet Jewish immigrants who have close relatives in the United States so that the rest would either have to go to Israel or fend for themselves. Dulzin said the WZO must be prepared to fight for the Begin plan.

(The JDC and HIAS has said repeatedly that they do not initiate contact with Soviet Jews in Vienna to discuss resettlement with them. The two agencies only discuss resettlement 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 two service organizations say they seek every possible means to first ascertain that the Soviet Jews in question are convinced they do not want to go to Israel.)

Rafael Kotlowitz, head of the Jewish Agency’s immigration department, reported a slight decline in the drop-out rate. He said it is now down to 65 percent of the Jews leaving the USSR from a high of nearly 70 percent earlier this year. He attributed this to a reduction in the number of exit visas granted by the Soviet authorities and a reduction in the number of emigrants from specific Soviet towns. Jews from the larger Russian cities have tended to go to the U.S. instead of Israel.

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