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The Beginning of Soviet Jewry Week: Shamir Urges All Freedom Loving People to Join in Marking the We

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Premier Yitzhak Shamir opened today’s Cabinet meeting with a brief statement noting that the week ahead will see the beginning of Soviet Jewry Week. He urged all freedom loving people in the world to join in marking the week of solidarity with Jews in the Soviet Union.

“We will never rest until we are re-united with our brothers and sisters from the USSR,” Shamir declared. He said words could not express his love and admiration for Jews in the Soviet Union who are risking their lives and liberty by studying Hebrew which is forbidden by the Soviet authorities.

ANNIVERSARIES OF TWO POCS

Next Thursday, March 15, will mark the seventh anniversary of the arrest of Anatoly Shcharansky, the 36-year-old Jewish activist imprisoned for alleged treason, and the first anniversary of the arrest of Yuri Tamopolsky, 47, for alleged “defamation of the Soviet State and social system.”

Both Shcharansky and Tamopolsky had applied for permits to emigrate to Israel, their only “crime.” But the Soviet authorities incarcerated them on other charges as a pretext for preventing their departure. Both men have become symbols of the struggle of Soviet Jews for the right to emigrate and to practice their faith in the USSR.

Many others in the same position endure harassment and face arrest at any time on charges concocted to preserve the credibility of Moscow’s insistence that it allows Jews to emigrate for the humanitarian purpose of family re-unification.

Tamopolsky, his wife Olga and daughter Irina have been refused visas since 1976. Shcharansky has been denied the right to join his wife and mother in Israel.

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