NEW YORK (Oct. 12)
Former refusenik Ida Nudel is expected to arrive in Israel Thursday night aboard the private jet of industrialist Armand Hammer, and Secretary of State George Shultz will be meeting them at Ben-Gurion Airport, according to Lynn Singer, executive director of the Long Island Committee for Soviet Jewry. Last October, in an unprecedented move, Hammer flew Jewish dissident Prof. David Goldfarb to the United States bypassing the normal exit procedures required of emigrating Soviet citizens.
Singer, who spoke to Nudel on Friday and again Monday, said that Nudel had received this information from the Soviet authorities, but that she had not yet spoken to Hammer himself.
The National Conference on Soviet Jewry told the JTA Sunday that they could “almost certainly confirm this report about Hammer,” but that they, too, were awaiting Hammer’s statement.
According to associates of Hammer at his offices at the Occidental Petroleum Corporation in Los Angeles, Hammer is on “an extended trip” and could not be reached for comment. (Late Monday, reports from Moscow indicated Hammer had arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan.)
Shultz was scheduled to arrive in Israel at the end of this week for talks with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Foreign Minister and Vice Premier Shimon Peres. Nudel’s arrival will coincide with his visit.
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On Monday, Nudel received her official permission to leave the Soviet Union via registered mail She had been notified on Oct. 2, just hours before the start of Yom Kippur, that she was getting her exit visa after a 16-year wait that included exile to Siberia and the Moldavian city of Bendery.
The 56-year-old Nudel, originally from Moscow, was in the Soviet capital on the eve of Yom Kippur for a hearing on whether she would be permitted to return to live in Moscow when she received the unexpected notification that she would be allowed to emigrate. She returned to Bendery to get all her paperwork in order and returned to Moscow, where she has been staying with another long-time refusenik, Judith Ratner Bialy.
Nudel told Singer Monday to “thank everybody. It’s unfortunate it took so many years, but now that my dream of being reunited with my sister and her family is real, it was worth it.” Nudel’s sister, Elana Fridman, has been living in Israel for 16 years. She resides in Rehovot with her husband, Aryeh, and son, Yakov.