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Israeli Government Urges Yasha Kazakov to End Hunger Strike Now in Fifth Day

March 30, 1970
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The Israel Government pledged today that it will never be indifferent to the fate of Soviet Jews but urged a Russian-born 23 year-old Israeli youth in New York to end his hunger strike against the Kremlin’s repressive policies. The message from the Israel Cabinet was delivered by the Israeli Consul, Yaacov Aviad to Yasha Kazakov who has been fasting outside United Nations headquarters since Wednesday. But the young man said he felt strong enough to continue his fast and would do so. He was examined by the Consulate’s physician who found him in fair condition and not in need of hospitalization. The message, which was made public after today’s Cabinet meeting here observed that “The moral and political struggle for the rights of Jews in the Soviet Union to immigrate to Israel is the responsibility of the whole Jewish people and more so, of the State of Israel.”

Young Kazakov camped at the Isaiah Wall on Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in order to call world attention to the plight of Russian Jewry, specifically his own family which was repeatedly denied an exit visa by Soviet authorities. The youth was permitted to leave Russia a year ago after renouncing his Soviet citizenship and has become an Israeli citizen. He is enrolled at the Haifa Technion. The Israel Cabinet, while asking him to end his fast, said “The heart of every Jew, every man in Israel and, we believe, every man with a conscience throughout the world beats together with him in his just struggle.”

Kazakov told the JTA last week that his father, Joseph, lost his job and was being harassed in the Soviet press after he joined 38 other Moscow Jews in a letter to the Soviet Foreign Ministry pressing for emigration rights. The letter was published abroad, a fact that incensed Soviet authorities. The Kazakov family also wrote for help to Premier Golda Meir who promised to give the case her special attention. That letter too was made available to Western correspondents. A copy of it was given to young Kazakov yesterday by Mrs.Gitta Iddan of the Israeli Consulate in New York. Meanwhile, Yasha’s father, Joseph Kazakov and his family continue to petition the Soviet Union for permission to emigrate to Israel. His latest letter to the Kremlin leaders, sent last Friday, explained that his son’s fast was a “desperate measure” that was “motivated fully by the futility of all the efforts we have made to get permission to leave,” and was not intended to “harm the Soviet Union.”

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