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10,000 in Israel Rally for Soviet Jewish Rights

About 10,000 school children and Soviet Jewry activists packed the Yad Eliahu sports stadium here Monday night in a rally for the right of Jews to leave the Soviet Union.

They were addressed by the country’s top leaders–President Chaim Herzog, Premier Yitzhak Shamir and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres–who aimed their remarks at Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, now in Washington for a summit conference with President Reagan.

The rally here came a day after Freedom Sunday, which drew more than 200,000 people to Washington for a pre-summit demonstration on behalf of Soviet Jews. The event in Washington was attended by some of the most prominent former refuseniks, including Natan Sharansky, Ida Nudel and Vladimir Slepak, who flew from Israel for the occasion.

The highlight of the rally here was a broadcast telephone conversation from Moscow with Yuli Kosharovsky, a refusenik since he first applied for an exit visa 16 years ago.

Kosharovsky, an engineer and Hebrew teacher, thanked all those in Israel and the United States who are working for the cause of Soviet Jews. “We will succeed if we continue to work. We will immigrate to Israel,” he said.

Responding in a voice that cracked with emotion, Shamir vowed to pursue his case. He declared that after the Washington rally, “The world must know that the Jewish people are a power, and we are no longer a people without an address. We no longer say let my people go, but let my people go home, to Israel, to the homeland.”

Peres called on Gorbachev to dismantle not only missiles, but the “land mine of hatred” for the Jewish people.

Herzog said the issue of human rights “is the litmus test which will show whether the rulers in the Kremlin are indeed bent on a genuine reversal of policy and a new path.”

“There is no doubt that new winds are blowing and that many hopes have been raised and await fulfillment,” he said. Herzog demanded “no more gestures, no more tokens, no more declarations of intent, but deeds–an actual change in the Soviet authorities towards the Jewish nationality in the USSR.”

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