JERUSALEM — Jewish activists freed from Soviet jails said today they have launched a campaign to persuade Jews in the Soviet Union to choose Israel rather than the United States if allowed to emigrate.
About three-quarters of all Jews now leaving the Soviet Union with Israeli-provided documents switch their destination to the United States or other Western countries rather than go to the Jewish state.
"Our message is that we do not promise them a Garden of Eden. But we do promise they will never have to fear about losing their Jewishness or that their children will cease to be Jews," Michael Zand, an organizer, said at a news conference.
In a taped message, prominent Jewish activist Josef Begun, recently freed from a Soviet jail, said all new emigrants should go to Israel.