Washington (Sep. 23)
The Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (UCSJ) has expressed concern over the recently announced change in Soviet Jewish resettlement policy by the Jewish Agency. Under the agreement, the Jewish Agency would refer to HIAS for immigration assistance only those Jews leaving the Soviet Union for countries other than Israel who have parents, children or spouses in those countries. The others would be required to go to Israel or fend for them selves.
At the annual meeting of the grass-roots organization, which has 28 councils in 35 states, the UCSJ stressed that while it “actively encourages emigres to choose Israel as their final destination,” it believes that “just as Soviet Jews should be free to emigrate from the USSR, so should they be free to resettle in the country of their choice.”
A resolution adopted at the UCSJ meeting “urges HIAS to aid all Soviet Jews to resettle in the country of their choice” and called on the immigrant aid society to adopt this policy “before the change in policy made by the Jewish Agency leads to a decline in emigration” from the Soviet Union.
Lynn Singer, of East Meadows, N. Y., who was elected president of the UCSJ, reiterated that position. “I urge HIAS to aid all Soviet Jews to resettle in the country of their choice, not just those with immediate family members in countries other than Israel,” she declared.
The UCSJ resolution also noted with “deep concern” that non-Jewish agencies and organizations will be helping those Soviet Jews excluded by the new Jewish Agency policy. It noted that “A valuable asset to the Jewish community might thus be lost.” The UCSJ stressed that its “main objective is to maximize the number of Jews allowed to emigrate from the USSR while there is still a chance.”
At a ceremony on Capitol Hill yesterday, the UCSJ honored five members of Congress who were especially active on behalf of Soviet Jews in 1981. The Congressmen, designated “Legislator of the Year” are Sens. Alan Cranston (D. Calif.) and Rudy Boschwitz (R. Minn.) and Reps. William Brodhead (D. Mich.); Lawrence Coughlin (R. Pa.) and Michael Barnes (D. Md.).