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Refugees Arrive in Israel from War-torn Moldova

Several hundred refugees from the battle zones of Moldova are due to arrive in Israel this month, as part of a special rescue operation by the Jewish Agency.

Jewish Agency Chairman Dinitz told the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee that 100 Moldovan Jews are expected to arrive this Thursday.

There are approximately 40,000 Jews currently residing in the former Soviet republic, some 70 percent of whom have begun aliyah proceedings.

About 150 have come since the outbreak of fighting there in May.

Of the 600 to 700 Jews now in the capital city of Kishinev, 350 are expected to arrive within the next week or two. The remainder, Dinitz said, are expected to immigrate by the end of the month.

An additional 1,400 Jews have found refuge in Odessa, Ukraine. Of these, “significant numbers destined for Israel are being moved to Kishinev, where their papers can be processed and they can be moved to Israel within a few weeks,” said a spokesman for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

The spokesman said that in the last several weeks, “the JDC has continued its ongoing support for the refugees and has responded to calls for help in special situations.”

Meanwhile, Dinitz, in his address to the Knesset, expressed deep concern over the fate of the Jewish community of Yugoslavia in the wake of the intensifying civil war there.

A group of 60 Jews, whose children arrived here unescorted in the earlier stages of the war, was expected to arrive here within the next few days, to meet with their children and to explore aliyah possibilities.

(JTA staff writer Susan Birnbaum in New York contributed to this report.)

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