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Israel Plans to Airlift Tajik Jews As Violence in That Area Escalates

September 23, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel is planning a large-scale airlift of Jews from the strife-ridden Moslem nation of Tajikistan as soon as logistical problems are solved.

The former Soviet republic has been racked with internecine violence. Some 10,000 of the country’s 12,400 Jews have filed applications to immigrate to Israel, Jewish Agency Chairman Simcha Dinitz said here Tuesday.

The first direct flight will depart for Ben-Gurion Airport from the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, hopefully “within a week,” after logistical and bureaucratic tangles are worked through.

Dinitz declined to spell out the nature of the problems, saying discretion was advisable in the interest of the would-be olim.

Unlike in other Asian areas of the former Soviet Union, the majority of the Jews in Tajikistan are Ashkenazim.

The Jewish Agency chairman, just back from a 24-hour visit to Moscow, sounded an optimistic note on prospects for aliyah and reported a marked upturn in current immigration figures.

The final week of September will see the arrival of an anticipated 2,000 olim, bringing the figure, for the month to more than 6,000, the highest to date in 1992.

With 4,500 olim from the former Soviet Union registered for October flights, totals next month should top 7,000. Thus, despite the early “lean” months, Dinitz expects the year’s total to reach 70,000.

By 1993, the monthly average should be hitting 10,000, with more than 100,000 arriving by year’s end, he said.

Dinitz said this was not yet a renewed “wave” of aliyah.

“But it is certainly an upswing, with current aliyah figures and the future outlook improving right across the former USSR,” he said.

One thousand youngsters, ages 16 to 18, will immigrate without their parents over the coming year, under a plan that will be submitted to the Jewish Agency Board of Governors at a meeting here next month.

The $5 million plan will place 16- and 17-year-olds in Youth Aliyah boarding schools. Eighteen-year-old high school graduates will be helped to attend college and will receive army deferments until completing undergraduate studies.

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