TEL AVIV (Mar. 4)
The mothers of all 11 refuseniks began a hunger strike outside the Knesset building Wednesday to protest the failure of Soviet authorities to grant exit visas to their families to join them in Israel.
The protesters say that despite the new emigration regulations that took effect on January I and hinted at a liberalization of Soviet policies, some 50 long-term refuseniks were recently informed that their visa applications have been rejected. Some have been refused for more than 15 years.
Meanwhile, Yitzhak Nenher, an Israeli lawyer who is a member of a group monitoring Soviet compliance with the Helsinki human rights accords, reported that only 130 Jews were allowed to leave the Soviet Union last month although 500 had been promised they could leave. The National Conference on Soviet Jewry reported that 146 Jews received exit visas last month.
Nenher, who just returned from a meeting of the monitoring group in the U.S. said that despite signs of change in the Soviet Union, only two Jewish Prisoners of Conscience have been released.