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Ida Nudel Says Some Soviet Jews Are Better off Settling in U.S.

September 6, 1988
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Former prisoner of conscience Ida Nudel is disappointed with the way Soviet Jews are treated in Israel and thinks some of them are better off in the United States.

Nudel, who won a 16-year battle for emigration from the Soviet Union when she arrived in Israel last Oct. 15, expressed her disillusionment while taping an interview for a television show, “The Year That Was,” to be aired Sept. 13.

“Israel and Israelis are indifferent to immigration from the Soviet Union,” Nudel contended. Soviet Jews “prefer to be taxi drivers in New York and to earn money rather than driving a taxi in Israel and engaging in self-degradation,” she was quoted as saying.

A former economist-engineer at the Soviet Institute for Planning and Production, Nudel said, “When Soviet Jews ask me whether to immigrate to Israel, I tell them: If you are an academician, don’t come here before you learn some menial profession.

“If you are a doctor or a chemist you won’t have anything to do in Israel.”

With respect to her personal experience, Nudel said that she had trouble getting a loan to build a house in the Jerusalem area.

Soviet emigres settling in Israel often complain about the difficulties they experience finding jobs and affordable housing. Officials in the Absorption Ministry and the Jewish Agency for Israel admit there is a problem.

The Jewish Agency Assembly this summer adopted a plan aimed at reforming the absorption system. Many of its prime components have not yet been implemented.

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