Nine Soviet army officers visited Tiberias last Friday during a brief visit to attend a United Nations ceremony of the presentation of awards and medals to members of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights.
The ceremony was held at UNDOf headquarters. Special permission was given to the Russian officers — five of them were accompanied by their wives — to visit Israel. The Russian officers, in resplendent dress uniforms with medals, were greeted at the Kuneitra checkpoint by Israeli liaison officers who took them on a tour arranged in advance by a Soviet officer and his wife who had paid a planning visit earlier this month.
UNDOF members on the Israeli side of the UNDOF line are drawn only from countries maintaining diplomatic relations with Israel. But UNDOF on the Syrian side of the border include members from Soviet bloc and other nations whose countries have no diplomatic relations with Israel. But UNDOF on the Syrian side of border include members from Soviet bloc and other nations whose countries have no diplomatic ties with Israel.
TOUR INCLUDES VISIT TO A KIBBUTZ
The tour Friday included a visit to Kibbutz Mahanayim where their kibbutz guide remarked they could at last see “real pure Communism in action.” The guide said the Russians were especially interested to know what happened to the money earned by the kibbutz farm and industries. The visitors asked especially to visit the children’s quarters, where the youngsters showed special interest in the gilt swords carried by three Soviet officers.
The Russian officers and their wives then visited the Tiberias “hypershuk” — a mammouth supermarket where they expressed amazement at the mass and variety of foodstuffs and other goods on display, and the crowds shopping there.
On the exploratory visit two weeks ago, the Russian officer and his wife visited this market, where the wife had repeatedly asked her husband for permission to buy goods. He told her that this was forbidden by their orders, but finally gave way and allowed her to chose one item. She chose a flowery plastic shower curtain.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.