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Fisher Says U.S. Jews Will Not End Aid to Soviet Jewish “drop-outs”

June 29, 1978
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Max M. Fisher of Detroit, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, said here today that he opposed stopping aid to Soviet Jewish emigres who “drop out” when they reach Vienna and go to the United States or other countries rather than to Israel. Fisher’s comment, made in a radio interview, put him in direct conflict with Leon Dulzin, chairman of the Jewish Agency, who has been insisting that Jewish organizations cease their assistance to the drop-outs.

Fisher said his view was shared by most American Jewish leaders. He made his statement shortly after Rafael Kotlowitz of Herut, head of the WZO’s aliya department, made a strong appeal for an end to aid to the “drop-outs,” demanding that the phenomenon must be stopped at all costs. The issue has divided diaspora and Israeli leaders for a number of years. The American Jewish leadership has refused to bring pressure on HIAS, the world-wide immigrant aid agency, and on the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to end their activities in Vienna on behalf of “drop-outs.” Fisher’s statement today made it clear to the Israelis that their demands are not likely to be accepted in the future.

The “drop-out” rate among Soviet Jews arriving in Vienna currently stands at about 60 percent. Dulzin warned recently that if it hits 80 percent the entire aliya movement in the Soviet Union would be in jeopardy.

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