The report on the Israeli attempt to force all Soviet Jewish emigrants to go to Israel is very bad news for the 200,000 or so former Soviet Jews living in the United States now. Most of them have relatives in the Soviet Union and most of them have been hoping for many years that those relatives might be given a chance to be reunited with their families in the U.S.
This new Israeli policy contravenes both the Helsinki Accords and the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights: Both declare that anyone has the right to live anywhere he or she chooses. In spite of this the Israeli government has been trying for years to stop Soviet Jews from emigrating anywhere but to Israel.
Soviet authorities have not been issuing permits for direct flights to the U.S. or accepting invitations from U.S. relatives. For a number of reasons they preferred to use the fiction of an Israeli visa.
Emigration from Israel to the U.S. is difficult. The wait can be 10 years or more, a long time for families to be reunited. Our organization urges the U.S. State Department to press for the reversal of this policy or else a way to circumvent it.
Chairman Southern Calif.
Council for Soviet Jews