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Dulzin Reveals Brezhnev Was Ready to Allow Jews to Emigrate Directly from the USSR to Israel

March 2, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

— Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev was ready to allow Jewish emigrants from the Soviet Union to fly directly from Moscow to Israel but was dissuaded by one of his aides, it was disclosed this weekend in a radio interview with Leon Dulzin, chairman of the World Zionist Organization Executive.

He said that at the request of Premier Menachem Begin, a “prominent Jewish personality with contacts with Brezhnev” discussed the matter of Jewish emigration with him and proposed that Jews be allowed to fly direct form the USSR to Israel, without an intermediate stop in Vienna.

According to Dulzin, Brezhnev replied, “Why not?” But a senior Soviet official sitting with him intervened and the proposal and favorable response has never been implemented. Dulzin declined to

name the “Jewish personality” or the Russian who had intervened. He said it was difficult to persuade those Jews who got as far as Vienna to come to Israel instead of going on to America. “We are up against fierce and unfair competition from some American Jews” Dulzin charged. “While we agree with freedom of choice for those who can get out of Russia, those American Jews help emigrants in Vienna and Rome financially, housing and feeding them and paying for their tickets to New York and helping them obtain American visas,” he said.

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