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Soviet Jews

August 21, 1988

I'd like to clarify some of the issues brought up by Norman Gottlieb (letter, "Jewish Emigres," Aug. 7). The issue of direct flights from the Soviet Union to Israel for emigrating Jews is not an example of the Israeli government denying freedom of choice but rather its desire to normalize procedures which for the past 20 years have been based on a deception. The new policy, if implemented by the Soviet government, encourages Soviet Jews to request an American, British or Australian visa from the appropriate embassy according to their country of choice.

The " Shanda " (shame) is not on the Israelis but on the Soviets who, up to this year, insisted that all emigres including dissidents and non-Jews leave on Israeli visas. Let us hope that the new system will open the door to increased emigration opportunities for Soviet Jews. What eventually happens will depend upon the Soviets.

MARCIA F. VOLPERT

Commission on Soviet Jewry Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles

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