TEL AVIV (Feb. 2)
A group of 22 new immigrants from the Soviet Union, including several refusenik families, arrived here Sunday on an El Al flight from Vienna, the largest single group of Soviet Jews to come to Israel in many months. They had little good to say about the new Soviet emigration regulations.
The purpose of those rules, which took effect January 1, is to ultimately reduce the number of refuseniks, the newcomers said. From now on the refusal of exit visas will be strictly a legal matter. But they will be refused to all applicants save those with immediate relatives abroad–parents, children or siblings.
Others will not even be allowed to apply. “Jews who wish to be repatriated to Israel but who have no immediate family here will find the Soviet gates firmly shut,” the new arrivals told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport.
They include families who had waited as long as eight years for permission to leave the USSR. Several of them served prison sentences for submitting visa applications or for teaching Hebrew which is illegal in the Soviet Union.
Among the emigres are Iszhak and Bezalel Shalolashivili, brothers from Tiflis, Soviet Georgia, who were accompanied by their families; and Dr. Joseph Zarkitzky, a Moscow physician and his wife Tatiana, all long-time refuseniks. There were also three families from Lithuania.