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Jewish Agency in Dispute with Austria over Processing Soviet Jews

The Jewish Agency charged today that the Austrian government has taken measures that force it to abandon the hostel it uses in Vienna to process Soviet Jews for immigra- tion to Israel. According to Leon Dulzin, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives, the Ministry of Interior in Vienna “decided recently and unexpectedly” to allow Jewish and non-Jewish groups, including church organizations “to enter the hostel and operate among Soviet Jews for immigration to countries other than Israel, despite the fact that these people emigrated (from the USSR) with visas for Israel only.”

Dulzin said this move was in violation of the Jewish Agency’s contract with the Austrian Rec Cross which granted it exclusive use of the hostel. He said a meeting between Jewish Agency representatives and the Austrian Interior Ministry is scheduled for January 7.

“But as of January 5, the Austrian Ministry of Interior put into practice demonstrative steps to impose its new policy,” Dulzin said. He said those steps consisted of putting up large posters in the hostel informing the immigrants of aid facilities offered by various Jewish and non-Jewish organizations to help them settle in the United States.

Israeli sources said Israel’s Ambassador to Austria, Yissachar Ben-Yaacov, would attend the meeting tomorrow along with Jewish Agency officials.

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