Hias Predicts Upswing in Soviet Jewish Emigration
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Hias Predicts Upswing in Soviet Jewish Emigration

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The top executive officer of HIAS has predicted an increase in Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union in the months ahead, following the nadir of the past summer. Addressing a closed-door session of HIAS “specialists conference” here, HIAS executive vice president Gaynor Jacobson said that according to U.S. governmental sources there are indications that Soviet Jewish emigration can be expected to rise in the coming months

The very low figures of July and August were probably due to the Olympic Games that occupied the Soviet emigration authorities, Jacobson said. The September figure was approximately double that of August, he noted. Moreover, he added, “reliable sources” believed the Soviets would want to make a better showing on Jewish emigration in advance of the Madrid conference for human rights in November and December: The Madrid conference is a follow-up on the Helsinki conference and the Helsinki accords on human rights and freedom.


Jacobson said it was officially estimated by U.S. government sources that a total emigration of 30,000 Soviet Jews could be expected in 1981 with 18,000 of them going to the U.S.

He said HIAS was presently consulting with the Jewish Agency on was the two bodies could work together to produce a program that would result into greater percentage of the emigrants going to Israel as their choice of destination.

Echoing HIAS president Edwin Shapiro’s repudiation of charges against HIAS in some Israeli and Jewish Agency quarters, Jacobson stressed publicly that the organization fully endorsed the basic desire of oil organized Jewry to see spore of the Soviet emigrants choose Israel.

Jewish Agency aliya department chairman Rafael Kotlowitz, addressing the HIAS conference, urged the organization to provide its services only to those emigrants with first-degree relatives already in the U.S. He asserted that the aid to dropouts assisted the Soviet policy of barring the exit of Jews to Israel who had relatives in the U.S.

Kotlowitz spoke of an “imminent decision” by Jewish organizations and the Agency on the cessation of aid to dropouts. But HIAS leaders attending the conference here have already made it clear publicly that there will be no question of HIAS ceasing its services in Vienna. They insist that HIAS is merely executing the policies desired and decided upon by organized American Jewry and ought not to be singled out for attack by the Jewish Agency.

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