At the International Conference for Soviet Jewry: Jewish Leaders Plan to Appeal to Gorbachev to Allo
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At the International Conference for Soviet Jewry: Jewish Leaders Plan to Appeal to Gorbachev to Allo

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Jewish leader plan to issue a strong appeal to Mikhail Gorbachev to allow Soviet Jews to leave for Israel, when they convene here Wednesday for a two-day meeting of the Presidium of the International Conference for Soviet Jewry.

Sources close to the Conference said Russia’s abrasive conduct during and after last month’s meeting at Helsinki “has convinced us that an appeal must be launched to world opinion to leave no doubt in the Soviet leader’s mind that civilized humanity will not tolerate a continuation of the current ‘closed gates’ policy practiced by the Soviet Union in refusing permission for its Jewish citizens to migrate abroad.”

The sources were referring to the brief meeting at Helsinki August 18 between Israeli and Soviet diplomatic delegations. It was the first such contact since Moscow broke diplomatic relations with Israel nearly 20 years ago. The Soviet delegates terminated the meeting after 90 minutes because the Israelis raised the issue of Jewish emigration from the USSR.

The Conference will be attended by delegates from a dozen countries. Natan Shcharansky will take the occasion to meet with President Francois Mitterrand to thank him for his personal intervention which helped secure Shcharansky’s release last February after nine years in the Soviet Gulag. Shcharansky will be accompanied by his wife, Avital.

Others attending the conference include Leon Dulzin, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives; Lionel Kopelowitz, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews; Israel Singer, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress; Abraham Forman assistant national director and head of the international affairs division of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith; and Theo Klein, president of CRIF, the representative body of French Jews.

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