JERUSALEM (Apr. 22)
The Soviet Union will consider allowing Israel to increase the staff of the Israeli consular mission in Moscow by as many as 10 officials, leading Kremlin figure Alexander Yakovlev was quoted as saying by an Israeli scholar who met with him.
Professor Eliahu Zemtzov added that Yakovlev had also spoken of the possibility of transferring the Israeli facility to a more convenient site in the suburbs, to better accommodate Soviet Jews waiting for help with bureaucratic procedures.
The current Israeli consular staff in Moscow numbers six, who are charged with handling 2,000 to 3,000 Jews per day. The hopeful emigres have to wait in long lines outdoors.
Meanwhile, one of the last of the prominent refuseniks arrived in Israel on Sunday, and another former refusenik in Moscow received permission to emigrate.
Vladimir (Ze’ev) Dashevsky of Moscow, a leader of the Orthodox Zionist circles in the city and a notable scholar and thinker in Jewish philosophy, arrived here Sunday to a big welcome. Back in Moscow, Leonid Stonov, refused emigration for 10 years, received his permission.
In a further sign of improved relations between Israel and the Soviet Union, Yakovlev also held out the prospect of an official invitation to the new Israeli foreign minister — once a government has been formed in Jerusalem.
He urged Israel to accept the proposals put forward by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker for the launching of a dialogue with the Palestinians, leading to elections in the administered territories.
ARRIVAL SPARKS CELEBRATION
Zemtzov, a social scientist, was in Moscow as guest of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. On an earlier visit late last year, he accompanied Science and Development Minister Ezer Weizman during an unscheduled private meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.
The Israeli scholar quoted Yakovlev as saying that the Soviet Union would move slowly toward normalization with Israel, carefully regarding the vying trends of conservatism and radicalism within Moscow policy-making circles.
In Israel, Dashevsky’s arrival was a cause for rejoicing. A “ba’al teshuvah” (returnee to religion) of many years’ standing, Dashevsky in recent years headed the Moscow branch of Machanaim, a return-to-Judaism movement among whose Soviet-Israeli leaders is former Soviet prisoner Yosef Mendelevich.
Dashevsky’s classes in Talmudic subjects and the works of Jewish philosophers were popular in the Moscow religious community, and his staunchly pro-Zionist stance won him strong support from Israeli establishment circles.
Dashevsky’s departure had been held up for years because of the opposition of his wife’s family. Members of the Gush Etzion kibbutz of Ein Tzurim planned a welcoming ceremony for him Sunday night at the Western Wall.
Stonov, who received his permission Friday, is a scientist who was refused emigration for 10 years for alleged possession of state secrets.
Another long-term refusenik, Emanuel Lurie, also from Moscow, arrived in Israel on Friday, after 12 years’ refusal.