Soviet Jews from Israel Arriving in the Netherlands, Seeking Asylum

Soviet Jews coming here from Israel are the latest group clamoring for political asylum in the Netherlands.

But Dutch authorities say they have virtually no chance of getting it. Moreover, the government believes these Soviet Jews may be victims of fraud.

Although at least 24,000 foreigners, mainly from Eastern Europe, have applied for asylum in Holland so far this year, the appearance of Soviet Jews from Israel is a new phenomenon.

They have begun arriving lately in groups of about 20 a week. They fly from Israel to Budapest and travel by bus from Hungary to Echt, a Dutch village near the Belgian border where aliens can apply for asylum.

The authorities here believe there is an organization making enormous, possibly illegal profits helping Soviet Jews leave Israel.

One recent emigre said he had to pay $1,000 to an agent in Israel, in addition to air fare, for help leaving the country. When he landed in Brussels, he was met by another man who demanded $1,000 to drive him, his wife and son to the Dutch border, less than an hour’s trip.

Some of the Soviet Jews interviewed on Dutch television complain bitterly of discrimination in Israel for being “Russians,” whereas in the Soviet Union they were discriminated against as Jews.

Several have non-Jewish wives. Under Orthodox rabbinical law, which governs such matters in Israel, their children are not Jews unless they undergo conversion. Some of these parents claim their children were discriminated against and were not even admitted to school.

Still, these Soviet Jews stand no chance of receiving political asylum in Holland because they come from Israel, which is not considered a country of political repression.

Soviet Jews coming here directly from the Soviet Union stand a better chance of being admitted to Holland permanently.

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