NEW YORK (Feb. 25)
Some 70 activists demanding that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev publicly denounce the growing wave of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and that the Kremlin allow direct flights to Israel were arrested Sunday at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations.
The activists, assembled by the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, were released after being charged with disorderly conduct. They must appear March 26 in Criminal Court here.
Braving bitter cold, wind and frequent gusts of snow blown from the rooftops, the activists, ranging in age from teen-agers to middle-aged adults, blew shofarim and blocked traffic by sitting down in the middle of the street outside the mission.
On hand in addition to rabbis, students and members of synagogue congregations was 17-year refusenik Karmela Raiz of Vilnius, who is visiting the United States on a tourist visa with her 12-year-old son, Moshe. Her husband, Vladimir, and younger son, Shaul, remain in the Soviet Union.
Raiz, who did not get arrested, told the crowd that “Soviet Jews don’t ask anything more than to be able to go to their own home, Israel. Time is short. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”
Raiz will begin a five-day vigil March 4 at the Soviet Embassy in Washington. Her presence before the Soviet Embassy is slated to end on the Fast of Esther, March 8.