JERUSALEM (Apr. 15)
Russia’s vice president, in talks in Moscow with the head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, has admitted that anti-Semitism is increasing in the former Soviet Union and that not enough is being done to counteract it.
Alexander Rutskoi acknowledged this during an hour-long meeting Tuesday with Simcha Dinitz, chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, whose six-day visit to the Soviet successor states ends Friday.
Rutskoi is scheduled to visit Israel next month at the invitation of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. He reportedly told Dinitz that Russia considers Israel to be “an important ally in the Middle East.”
Rutskoi’s words followed by one day the visit to Israel by popular Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov, who came to Israel as a guest of the government.
Dinitz acknowledged that the slowdown of aliyah from the former Soviet Union continues, despite unstable conditions in many places and fear of anti-Semitism.
But regardless of the absorption difficulties in Israel, every effort will be made to restore the momentum that brought more than 350,000 Soviet Jews there since free emigration began in 1989, Dinitz said.
The Jewish Agency head disclosed Wednesday that only 21,353 immigrants have arrived in Israel since the beginning of the year, of whom 17,668 were from territories of the former Soviet Union.
Dinitz paid a 24-hour visit to Minsk, capital of Belarus and once a quintessentially Jewish city. Its Jewish population dwindled at the turn of the century, with the great migration to the West, and was decimated during the Holocaust, when there were mass shootings of Jews.
Dinitz was greeted there by 700 Jews.
He was due to visit Kiev, capital of Ukraine, on Thursday to participate in a pre-Passover class for young people and visit a Jewish Agency-sponsored Hebrew-language ulpan.
Dinitz was scheduled to return to Israel on Friday on a flight from Kiev with 130 immigrants.