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Soviet Jewish Immigrants Want Recognition for Time Spent in Russian Prisons

September 26, 1972
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Jewish immigrants who served time in Soviet jails for alleged Zionist activities demanded today that the Israel government and the Jewish Agency extend them official recognition for the time they spent in prison. Leaders of the Prisoners of Zion Association charged at a press conference that the Finance Ministry, so far, has blocked recognition of their imprisonment as “service as soldiers on the second front.” They said they would appeal to the World Zionist Executive for support.

The Association presently numbers about 350 members and has another 150 applicants. It plans to hold its first annual convention here next week. Rabbi Mordechai Chen, chairman, said that many of the members were arrested in the midst of their studies and are now finding it difficult to finance their children’s high school and university education in Israel.

He charged that Kupat Holim, the national sick fund, has refused treatment to former prisoners who contracted chronic illnesses in Soviet jails. The only positive step taken so far was Histadrut’s decision to apply five years’ imprisonment served by some of the emigres toward their seniority in wage calculation, Rabbi Chen said.

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