Long-time Refusenik Arrives in Israel

Dr. Vladimir Brodsky, a Jewish activist unexpectedly released from a Soviet prison after serving one year of a three-year sentence for alleged “hooliganism,” arrived in Israel Sunday night with his wife, Nina Zisserman Brodsky, and their baby daughter, Rachel.

Brodsky, 42, a former Moscow cardiologist, was sentenced in August 1985 to three years at a Soviet labor camp. He had been seeking an exit visa for Israel since 1980.

His wife, a journalist, told reporters in fluent Hebrew that her husband’s early release was due to the intervention of many organizations. She mentioned the U.S. Peace Corps and West Germany’s opposition Green Party, among them.

Brodsky said his family’s joy on being in Israel was tempered by concern for fellow Jewish activists who remain in prison. He referred to Yosef Begun, serving a 12-year sentence, who he said recently lost 20 pound and cannot walk; and Ronald Zelichenok, serving a three-year sentence, who is forced to work as usual though he has had a cerebral hemorrhage.

Nina Brodsky said, “I hope that the Israeli authorities will never forget our prisoners and our refuseniks and will never stop their efforts for their release.” She said she thought meetings such as that between Israeli Premier Shimon Peres and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze at the United Nations in New York Monday, could be “very, very useful.”

NEXT STORY