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Soviet Aliyah Dipped in August, but Immigration to the U.S. Rose

A total of 8,688 Soviet Jews immigrated to Israel in August, and another 3,269 arrived in the United States under the government’s refugee program, according to groups monitoring the flow of emigres.

The August figure for Israel is the second lowest monthly aliyah total this year and continues a decline from the peak of 20,473 in June, according to statistics provided by the Soviet Jewry Research Bureau of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.

But the bureau also reported that 7,397 more Soviet Jews were granted entry visas to Israel in August, raising expectations that aliyah would soon increase.

Moreover, Soviet Jewish immigration to Israel so far this calendar year totals 105,680, up from the corresponding figure of 82,454 for the first eight months of 1990.

The August figure for Soviet Jews entering the United States was the highest monthly total this calendar year, according to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which assists the refugees in coming here.

But it is clear that Soviet Jewish immigration to the United States is still far smaller than was originally anticipated, in part because of slowdowns at local offices of the Soviet visa bureau, OVIR.

Under the U.S. refugee program, up to 40,000 Soviet Jews could have entered the country this fiscal year, which began last Oct. 1. But with only one month left, only 22,412 Soviet Jews have arrived so far.

It is not yet clear how last month’s failed coup in Moscow and the ensuing instability have affected Jewish emigration. What is clear is that emigration has not been interrupted.

In a statement Tuesday, Shoshana Cardin, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, expressed gratification for the “continuation of emigration throughout the period of change in the Soviet Union.”

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