JERUSALEM (Nov. 23)
A Foreign Ministry official has estimated there are 2.7 million Jews living in the Soviet Union, a figure at variance with the 1.5 million claimed by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres a month ago.
The report, submitted to the Cabinet Sunday by ministry staffer David Bartov, also appeared to challenge Peres’ argument that the diminishing number of Jews in the USSR made it urgent for Israel to try to renew diplomatic ties with Moscow.
According to Bartov, most Jews who have left the Soviet Union emigrated during the past 20 years, when there were no diplomatic relations with Israel. Of the 300,000 Soviet Jewish emigres since 1958, 170,000 came to Israel, most of them after the 1967 Six-Day War when the Russians broke diplomatic relations, he said.