NEW YORK (Jul. 30)
Former Soviet Jewish Prisoner of Conscience Isaak Shkolnik, who served seven years in the Soviet Gulag on alleged charges of “treason” and “anti-Soviet agitation,” was granted permission to emigrate to Israel, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry reported today.
Shkolnik, who first applied for an exit visa in 1972, is the first former prisoner to be permitted to emigrate from the Soviet Union in nearly 10 years. His arrival in Israel, slated for mid-August, will reunite him with his wife, Feiga, and his daughter, Aliza, whom he has not seen since their departure from the USSR in 1973.
Shkolnik was arrested in July 1972, shortly after he made known his desire to emigrate to Israel. Initially accused of being a British spy when a search of his home turned up the business card of a British engineer, a radio tuned to Kol Yisrael and five American dollars, Soviet authorities later claimed that Shkolnik was spying for Israel.
Feiga Shkolnik, who works as an economist at the Central Bureau of Statistics in Jerusalem, toured the United States in 1978 under the auspices of the NCSJ to gain support for her husband. Two years later, she and her daughter held a hunger strike at the Western Wall to publicize the family’s plight.