JERUSALEM (Sep. 21)
A petition urging Soviet Jews who receive exit visas to come to Israel was released here Monday by recent immigrants from the USSR. It reportedly has the endorsement of two former Prisoners of Conscience in Moscow, Viktor Brailovsky and Iosif Begun, who were released from prison recently and are expected in Israel as soon as they get their promised exit permits.
The petition was timed to coincide with the meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze at the United Nations in New York Wednesday.
It is also hoped to influence potential “dropouts” — Jews who leave the Soviet Union with Israeli visas but choose to settle in other countries. One signatory of the petition, former POC Yuli Edelshtein who came to Israel two months ago, said it might have the desired effect on potential immigrants because the signers are well known to Soviet Jews. Another purpose of the petition is to encourage aliya activists in Moscow, Edelshtein said.
He suggested that if the Israeli public were a little more involved in the process of absorption, it could help reduce the drop-out rate.