Hias Says It Will Continue Migration Services for Soviet Jews Who Don’t Go to Israel

HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, said today it would continue to provide migration services to Jewish refugees coming out of the Soviet Union who choose not to go to Israel.

The HIAS executive committee acted at an emergency meeting last night following the announcement by Leon Dulzin, chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, that the Agency would refer to HIAS only those Soviet Jews who had spouses, parents or children in the U.S., Canada and other countries of resettlement. Brothers and sisters would not be included.

Edwin Shapiro, HIAS president, and Leonard Seidenman, executive vice president, will fly to Jerusalem Thursday to take part in a special meeting of the Jewish Agency Executive to discuss the issue.

Under a long-standing agreement between the Jewish Agency and HIAS, Jewish refugees arriving in Vienna from the Soviet Union have been met by Agency workers and urged to continue on to Israel. If they decline, the Agency refers them to HIAS, which provides assistance to help them emigrate to lands other than Israel. Funds for Soviet refugee resettlement to the U.S. are provided almost entirely by the U.S. government.

Last week Dulzin announced that the Agency would no longer give HIAS the names of those Soviet Jews who on their arrival in Vienna from the USSR choose not to go to Israel. Last month nearly 85 percent of the Jewish refugees permitted to leave the Soviet Union did not go to Israel.

RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY HIAS

In a resolution adopted at its meeting last night, HIAS declared: “The executive committee of HIAS fully understands and appreciates the motivation of the Jewish Agency’s efforts to increase emigration to Israel. HIAS as a world organization shares these endeavors and recognizes its responsibility to help achieve such a goal.

“However, HIAS is not prepared to refuse its services to Soviet Jewish emigrants who have not been specifically referred by the Jewish Agency. HIAS is also not prepared to renounce the previously agreed-upon consultative process with the Jewish Agency, the American Joint Distribution Committee and the Council of Jewish Federations, which are an integral part of the procedure for resettling Soviet Jews.

“The HIAS tradition is to serve every Jewish refugee in need, anywhere in the world, with compassion and understanding.”

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