Panovs, Tired but Happy, Arrive in Israel, ‘our Home’
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Panovs, Tired but Happy, Arrive in Israel, ‘our Home’

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Valery and Galina Panov arrived at Ben Gurion airport from Vienna near midnight and left their plane exclaiming, “We have come home. This is our home.” The famous dance couple looked tired after their long trip from Leningrad to Vienna, where they arrived yesterday for a brief rest before boarding an Austrian: Airways plane for Israel. Galina, who had been hospitalized in Vilnius the prior week, was disclosed to have suffered a miscarriage during the weekend before she and Valery left the Soviet Union.

A huge crowd of dancers artists and fans, as well as a large corns, of Journalists and cameramen — the latter having arrived for the visit by President Nixon — greeted the happy couple at Ben Gurion airport.

Uzzi Narkis, head of the Jewish Agency’s Aliyah department, welcomed the Panovs and escorted them to the VIP lounge at the airport. “We are dead tired but we are happy,” Valery said. Asked if he intended to make Israel his home, he replied “of course.” He added “we hope we both find work in Israel. He said “we will dance for Israel but we believe art has no boundaries.” He said “art is for the entire world but it is known that from Zion there shall come the knowledge unto the world.” The dancers then expressed their thanks to all who had helped them in their two-year struggle to leave the Soviet Union, which began when they were dismissed from the Kirov ballet for applying for exit permits.

The dancers then were taken to the Jewish Agency’s offices to receive new immigrants certificates, some Israeli currency and a collection of cables from various European and American dance groups inviting the Panovs to Join them. The weary newcomers were taken to an apartment rented for them by the Bat Dor Dance troupe They will move in about two weeks to a new apartment prepared for them in Tel Aviv.

Panov said he expected to return to normal dance form after a few months of rehearsals. The Bat Dor troupe has offered to incorporate the Panovs in its programs but this is not definite. Valery put the word “Jew” opposite the appropriate entry in the immigration document. His wife, who is not Jewish, left that item blank.

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