U.S. Refugee Act Seen As Having Negative Effect on Soviet Jewish Emigration to Israel

Premier Menachem Begin has been urged by Leon Dulzin, chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency Executives. to discuss with President Carter the negative effect on Soviet Jewish aliya of the recently-enacted U.S. Refugee Act of 1980. Begin is scheduled to meet with Carter in Washington April 15-16.

In a meeting with Begin here yesterday. Dulzin stressed while the new U.S. law was “a positive and Humanitarian bill,” the Premier should explain to the U.S. President that Soviet emigrants cannot be considered political refugees since they all have exit visas to Israel.

Dulzin told the JTA today that although the law does not imply any specific benefits to Soviet Jewish emigrants, the new bill may be mistaken by Jews coming out of the Soviet Union to mean that they will receive increased benefits and thus encourage the already very high dropout rate.

Dulzin said he wanted to emphasize that Jews leaving the USSR are not political refugees because they left is legally and are already citizens of Israel under the Law of Return, He said the dropout rate is endangering Soviet Jewish emigration. He noted that recently Soviet authorities have been refusing visas for Jews whose relatives left the USSR with visas for Israel but then settled in the United States. “Every dropout prevents aliya of another Jew,” Dulzin told the JTA.

In an open letter to Haaretz today, Dulzin again stressed the U.S. bill was a humanitarian law. “Nobody wants to compel Jews who do not so wish, to come and settle in Israel.” he said. But. he added, Israel cannot approve allowing the visa to Israel, which Soviet Jews must get in order to emigrate, to become “a mere transit paper.”

Dulzin said American Jews “have a right” to see to it that Soviet Jews who want to come to the U.S. get direct entry visas. “The U.S.A. will do what she has to do as leader of the free world and as a shelter for persecuted people,” Dulzin stated, “Israel will not old Jews exchange one diaspora with another…. An Israeli citizen is no more a homeless person, Every Jew has a mother country. He may not make use of it, but by no means can he be regarded as a refugee.”

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