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Lansky Given 1 Month Visa Extension; Paper Calls Libel Suit ‘hoax’

July 23, 1971
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The Interior Ministry today granted Meyer Lansky a one month extension of his tourist visa which was due to expire next Tuesday but said it had “no knowledge” of his having applied for Israeli citizenship. Ministry sources said that a decision was still pending on Lansky’s future residence in Israel. The reputed leader of American gambling rackets arrived in Israel on July 27, 1970 on a tourist visa valid for three months and has since received five extensions. He said recently that he was applying for citizenship under the Law of Return. Lansky has filed a $350,000 libel suit against the newspaper Yediot Achronot for defaming his character in articles about his alleged criminal activities. The newspaper claims the suit is a “hoax, not presented in good faith but out of necessity to enable him to stay in Israel,” It contends that it was obligated “to throw light on the criminal past of the plaintiff” and that Lansky had no “good name” to “undermine.” The reputed rackets czar won support in his efforts to remain in Israel from a group of recently arrived Jewish emigres from the Soviet Union. They circulated petitions urging the Interior Ministry to grant Lansky citizenship because “that is the right of all Jews.”

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