Some 500 people, including the British Ambassador, William Squire, attended a 56th birthday party for longtime Soviet Jewish refusenik Ida Nudel at WIZO House here Monday night and encouraged her that her 16-year ordeal may soon be over.
Nudel was present via a telephone call placed to her by another famous former refusenik, Natan Sharansky. She spoke to the assemblage from the Moravian town of Bendery where she has been allowed to live since her release from exile in Siberia. She spoke to her sister, Elana Fridman, who has lived in Israel since she was permitted to leave the USSR 16 years ago.
Squire assured Nudel that “We’re still working on your case.” He said British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who visited Moscow earlier this month, vowed to continue pressing the Soviet authorities to allow Nudel to emigrate to Israel.
He said Thatcher had tried, unsuccessfully, to meet with Nudel while in Moscow. “Mrs. Thatcher joins with all of us present here tonight in hoping that Ida Nudel will soon be allowed to emigrate,” the British envoy said.
Absorption Minister Yaacov Tsur said there has been a change in the Soviet Union toward Jewish emigration. He said the first sign was that 600 Russian Jews left the USSR so far this month. He cautioned, however, that high expectations do not mean that fundamental changes have occurred in Soviet policies.
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.