New York (May. 11)
Avital Shcharansky, the wife of Prisoner of Conscience Anatoly Shcharansky, issued an “appeal to the American government” to save her husband’s life. At a meeting today at the World Jewish Congress with Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R. N. Y.), she reported that her husband has spent four months in solitary confinement, that his weight is down to 105 pounds and he is losing his memory.
In response to Mrs. Shcharansky’s plea, D’Amato said that the life of Shcharansky “will be the number one concern of my office.” He said he was taking immediate steps for her to meet with Secretary of State Alexander Haig or top level Department officials. Leaders of some two dozen American Jewish organizations at the meeting joined in declaring their solidarity in urgent efforts on Shcharansky’s behalf.
D’Amato also told the meeting at the Park East Synagogue, which was convened by Rabbi Arthur Shneier, chairman of the WJCongress-American Section and the synagogue’s spiritual leader, that he was “adamantly opposed” to sale of AWACS and enhanced F-15 equipment to Saudi Arabia. He noted that the issue was not simply one of Israel’s security but involved also the jeopardy of sophisticated arms being sold to a regime whose stability is questionable. D’Amato urged the Jewish community “not to let their guard down” for “if the AWACS system is the price of oil today, what will be the price tomorrow?”