Ex-refuseniks Press Shultz on Freedom

Four prominent former refuseniks, now living in Israel, urged Secretary of State George Shultz Sunday to make the issue of freedom for Soviet Jewry “one of the central topics” at the summit meeting between President Reagan and Soviet Communist Party Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev expected to be held, in Washington later this year.

An open letter to Shultz on this matter was announced at a news conference by Yuli Edelshtein, Viktor Brailovsky, Yosef Mendelevich and Natan Sharansky. They declared they would “neither rest nor be silent until every Jew in the Soviet Union who asks to return to Zion is granted his request.”

The letter to the Secretary of State, who is presently visiting Israel, welcomed him as a “friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.” They observed that “this is a fateful moment and that decisions made now will have a crucial effect on the future of Soviet Jewry.”

The four, all former Prisoners of Conscience, stressed that the problem was not the personal plight of individuals, family reunifications or refuseniks, but “a general problem of the repatriation of a people.”

They told Shultz that “Throughout their history, the Jewish people have remembered leaders of other nations who helped them attain their national aspirations. For years to come, our people will cherish a President of the United States, a leader of the Free World, who succeeds in achieving the return to Zion of Soviet Jewry.”

They concluded with an appeal to Shultz, saying they relied on him to convey their message to President Reagan.

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