Direct Flights May Eliminate Need for Transit Points, Dinitz Reports

The establishment of regular direct flights from Soviet cities to Israel will increase the flow of immigrants from the Soviet Union, Jewish Agency Chairman Simcha Dinitz predicted this week.

It will also diminish the need for transfer points in Eastern European capitals, Dinitz told a meeting of the Jewish Agency Executive here.

Dinitz, who also chairs the World Zionist Organization, said there has already been an 11 percent increase in visa applications from the Soviet Union. Today, 35,000 Soviet Jews hold entry visas to Israel, and another 50,000 have exit permits from the Soviet authorities, he said.

Dinitz reported that since a new commercial airline named Aerolicht began flying olim directly from Kishinev to Tel Aviv, the number of immigrants who travel via Bucharest has declined.

Dinitz said there would be a major reduction in operations at Eastern European transit stations after El Al and Aeroflot, the Soviet national air carrier, begin direct immigrant flights to Israel from the Soviet Union next month.

Meanwhile, Uri Gordon, head of the Jewish Agency’s Immigration and Absorption Department, reported that some 4,000 Jews are still in Ethiopia, about 2,500 of them in Gondar province.

Gordon said the Jewish Agency will continue its efforts to bring them to Israel at a rate of 100 to 150 a week.

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