Jerusalem (Jul. 5)
Unless Soviet authorities loosen their tight grip on the emigration of Jews, 1981 may prove to be the poorest year for aliya, Jewish Agency sources said this weekend. Only 5,300 immigrants came to Israel since the beginning of the year — an ebb related largely to the small number of exit visas granted by the Soviets.
Only 866 Jews left the Soviet Union last month, and 84 percent of them dropped out in Vienna. Since the beginning of the year, 6,669 Jews left the USSR; 5,567 dropped out in Vienna and 1,102 came to Israel.
Rafael Kotlowitz, head of the Jewish Agency’s Immigration and Absorption Department, said two factors were responsible for the small number of Soviet Jews emigrating to Israel: the decrease in the number of exit visas and the fact that the Soviets were allowing emigration only from those areas which have a history of high dropout rates. To compensate for this loss, Kotlowitz said his department is making intensive efforts to increase the number of emigrants from Western countries.