NEW YORK (Nov. 16)
Menachem Beigin, the leader of the Likud opposition in Israel, suggested last night that there should be an “interim” period of about a year before any aid is cut off to Soviet Jews who leave the USSR for Israel but go to some other country. He said this would prevent creating real human hardships.
Beigin told an overflow crowd of some 2000 people at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Manhattan that during this transition period efforts should be made to convince the potential dropouts that they owe it to themselves and their fellow Jews to go to Israel. His remarks came in response to a question from Rabbi William Berkowitz at the Congregation’s “Dialogue ’76” lecture series.
The Likud leader said that the reasons for the dropout increase include fear of security following the 1973 Yom Kippur War–a fear which he said has lessened since the Entebbe operation; Israel’s economic and social problems and the possibility that Soviet authorities are providing exit visas to those Jews most likely to go to some country other than Israel.
Beigin urged American Jews to continue their demonstrations and actions in support of the right of emigration for Soviet Jews. He added that there should be increased aliya from the West as well as from the Soviet Union.
The issue of how Soviet Jewish emigration, especially the dropouts, should be handled is now being studied by a committee of eight Americans and Israelis. The Interorganizational Committee on Soviet Jewish Emigration, which is dealing with this issue, is headed by Max Fisher of Detroit.