JERUSALEM (Oct. 29)
There is no evidence of an imminent change in the Soviet Union’s policy on Jewish emigration, despite all reports and rumors that such change is imminent, Jewish Agency Executive chairman Leon Dulzin and Absorption Minister Yaacov Tsur said today in separate statements.
Dulzin said, at a press conference, that it was “not impossible” that World Jewish Congress president Edgar Bronfman, who recently visited Moscow, was being “strung along” by the Soviets. Dulzin said that Bronfman, who was in the Kremlin in September and met with a number of officials, including one Politburo member, had been promised a “gesture” before Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit to Paris earlier this month. But nothing had materialized, Dulzin said.
There were reports last weekend that Gorbachev had asked France to fly several thousand Soviet Jews from the USSR to Israel on a special airlift, planned to precede his upcoming summit meeting with President Reagan in Geneva. The reports, from Paris, said Gorbachev had discussed this plan with President Francois Mitterrand but it has been dropped for the time being. There were also unconfirmed reports from Sofia, Bulgaria, last week that the Soviet Union was opening its gates to Jewish emigration. But nothing has materialized.
Tsur told the Knesset Aliya Committee that an artificial atmosphere of expectation might be deliberately engendered, since it served the interests of the USSR, especially at this time.
Dulzin told the press that the Jerusalem Conference (formerly the Brussels Conference) on Soviet Jewry has scheduled a session November 17-18 in Geneva and that it would embark on a massive worldwide public campaign on behalf of Soviet Jewry unless there were tangible signs of increased emigration by then.