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Final Week of the Year Brings 12,000 Immigrants from the USSR

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The final week of 1990 saw a record-breaking 12,000 immigrants arrive from the Soviet Union, 4,000 of them since Friday.

The week’s total was about equal to the entire aliyah of 1988, an Absorption Ministry spokesperson said.

Absorption Minister Yitzhak Peretz presented the Cabinet on Sunday with his plans to absorb 400,000 newcomers in 1991. The total is up from 300,000 new arrivals projected earlier but may already be obsolete.

Observers said that rapidly deteriorating economic and political conditions in the Soviet Union could bring an aliyah of 600,000 in 1991.

While the press reported that immigration from the Soviet Union in December could total 50,000, Gad Ben-Ari, a spokesman for the Jewish Agency, which transports the immigrants to Israel, said the figure would be closer to 35,000.

According to Ben-Ari, one source will add olim arriving after midnight to the previous day’s total and another to the following day’s total so they are counted twice.

Friday’s arrivals included 61 children, not immigrants but victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. They were flown here to be treated for radiation sickness and associated disorders.

They are the third group of Chernobyl children brought to Israel for medical treatment under the auspices of Chabad, the Brooklyn-based movement of Lubavitcher Hasidim.

The chartered Aeroflot plane that flew them here directly from Moscow returned with nine tons of fresh fruit, powdered milk and other food donated by various Jewish organizations in Israel.

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