Moscow Visas for Israelis Cancelled

Soviet authorities have cancelled all of the entry visas they previously granted Israelis who paid $400 in advance to attend the Olympic Games in Moscow this summer. Their act was seen as a reprisal for Israel’s decision last month to join the U.S. and other countries boycotting the games because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Although Israel will not send its athletes to Moscow, about 170 Israeli nationals applied for visas and paid in U.S. dollars for hotel accommodations and admission tickets to the various events. Two days ago, 80 of them were notified that their visas were granted. They planned to leave for Vienna tomorrow to collect the visas and proceed to Moscow.

But the Soviet Embassy in Vienna advised the Israeli travel company, Peltours, yesterday that all of the visas have been withdrawn and the passports of the applicants were on their way back to Israel. Peltours had made the travel and hotel arrangements in conjunction with intourist, the Soviet travel agency, which collected the $400 from each applicant. Intourist has given no indication when or how it will refund the money. (By Yitzhak Shargil)

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