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Wife Says Shcharansky Has Learned Meaning of Being a Jew As She Accepts Yeshiva U. Degree in Absenti

Yeshiva University today presented its first honorary degree in absentia to Soviet Jewish Prisoner of Conscience Anatoly Shcharansky, who is currently serving a prison term in the Soviet Union’s notorious Chistipol prison. Avital Shcharansky, Anatoly’s wife, in accepting the award at commencement ceremonies at the University, said, “Anatoly has learned the meaning of being a Jew in its deepest and most trying sense.”

“As nations the world over quiver before the might of the Soviet Union, as principles are compromised around the negotiating tables as a sacrifice to realpolitik and balances of power and terror, a single supposedly defenseless man, suffering from a serious heart condition, stands firm and does not flinch before the tyrant,” Mrs. Shcharansky told the graduates at the University’s 53rd annual commencement.” His tormentors have not broken his spirit,” she said.

Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R. NY), who also addressed the graduates, assailed the Reagan Administration’s sale of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Saudi Arabia. He described the sale as “sinister.” He asked, “Why should we arm the Saudis? Why should we arm the Iraqis?” The Senator expressed the hope that both Iran and Iraq, engaged in the Persian Gulf war for nearly four years, succeed in destroying each other.