BONN (Dec. 10)
More than 10,000 Soviet Jews have applied for immigration visas to Germany, according to official figures.
Jews are arriving in Berlin from the Soviet Union at the rate of about 20 a day.
Their number seems insignificant, however, compared to the tens of thousands of Soviet Jews pouring into Israel each month.
Nevertheless, Israel is displeased and has notified the German authorities it hopes they will stop accepting Soviet Jews as immigrants.
The issue is a delicate one. Many political factions in Germany, especially on the left, are urging the Bonn government to admit as many Jews as wish to come here.
They argue that Germany has a special responsibility to protect Jews from persecution and hunger in the Soviet Union.
The official Jewish community, eager to increase its numbers, is also asking unrestricted entry of Jews from the East.
But Benjamin Navon, Israel’s ambassador to Germany, said he hoped the authorities would take Israel’s position into consideration when they meet Dec. 14 to discuss the highly emotional subject.
Israel’s position, Navon told a German newspaper, is that “there are no Jewish refugees, because the Jews have a country, a homeland where they would always be welcomed. This land, of course, is Israel.”