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December 31, 1982 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-12-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

6 Friday, December 31, 1982

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Visit to China

A human being is not, in
any proper sense, a human
being till he .is educated.
—H. Mann



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JEWELRY

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U.S. Jews Shutting the Doors of Russia?

WALTHAM, Mass. — A
top-level Brandeis Univer-
sity delegation led by
President Marver H. Berns-
tein has been invited to the
People's Republic of China
to meet with senior gov-
ernment officials and lec-
ture at universities on pol-
icy issues in education, eco-
nomics and social welfare.

By CARL ALPERT

HAIFA — The World
Zionist Congress held in
Jerusalem was not a very
inspiring spectacle. To Is-
raelis who followed the pro-
ceedings from press and
television it seemed that the
major issues revolved
around squabbles on dele-
gates' credentials. There
was a great deal of speech-
making, but little to lift the
spirits in a jaded organiza-
tion. As a result, the Israeli
observers had little but
scorn for the congress.
This reaction is perhaps
unfair, based as it is on
superficial reporting by the
media, since there obvi-
ously were moments of sig-
nificance, which did not al-
ways reach public atten-
tion.
One of these was on a sub-
ject which was relegated to
secondary importance. A
day before the opening of
the congress, the leading
personalities who had come

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to Israel from the Soviet
Union, and other activists
working in the interests of
Russian Jewry, signed a
manifesto in the public
press. Since over two mil-
lion Jews live in the Soviet
Union today, they asked,
"why is the subject of Soviet
Jewry not high on the
agenda of the Zionist Con-
gress?"
The chairman of the
Zionist Executive, Arye
Dulzin, did have words
on the subject, and he
was quite outspoken.
First of all, he pointed out
that in the past 11 years
260,000 Jews left the
USSR, of whom 180,000
went to Israel, where
they have adjusted and
integrated well. Only
three percent of them
have chosen to leave Is-
rael. It was only begin-
ning in 1978-1979 that the
dropout movement in
Vienna began to swell.
Why?

The Chief Rabbi of Mos-
cow, in a Pesach telephone
call to Rabbi Goren last
year, expressed bluntly
what has been said here for
several years: that the di-
version of Russian Jewry to
the United States has
endangered the exit of
others. This year only about
600 of the immigrants came
to Israel, and the doors of
the Soviet Union are clos-
ing. Why?
There is no love of Israel
in Moscow. Objectively, the
Communists could not care
less where the Jews went,
except that an important
principle of Soviet pride is
involved. The Russians
maintain that their system
is superior to that of the
capitalist world, which is
decadent and doomed to col-
lapse. Hence the very act of
leaving the Soviet Union is
an expression of lack of con-
fidence; an unpatriotic act.
To be sure; if Jews are
willing to leave the Com-
munist paradise to take up
their homes in Israel, that is
another matter. As one

CARL ALPERT

Jewish intellectual recently
arrived in Israel explained
it: Domestic Soviet prop-
aganda makes it clear that
Israel is a tiny, backward,
poverty-stricken state, con-
stantly at war with its
neighbors, and struggling
to keep its head above
water. Any Jew who leaves
the powerful and comforta-
ble Soviet Union to live in a
country like Israel is obvi-
ously not in his right mind,
and Russia would be well
rid of them.
No bad example is
thereby set for the bulk of
the country's citizens,
who would certainly not
want to follow them.

take the initiative in
suggesting a change in di-
rection; it only services
_ those who come to Vienna
with their minds already
made up.
The real criticism must be
directed at the generous,
warm-hearted Jews of the
U.S. It is they who provide
the welcome and the assis-
tance and the physical ac-
coutrements to help the
Russian Jews adjust so
quickly. This was all very
well in the days of Czarist
persecutions, when Jews
had nowhere else to go. But
today American Jews are in
effect competing with Is-
rael, and they have the
wealth and facilities to do so
successfully.
From Boston and
Chicago and Los
Angeles, letters have
gone back to relatives in
Russia advising in effect:
"Take your Israel visas —
they will get you out of
RUssia, but once you are
in Vienna, opt for
America. You will be
treated like kings here.
You will get jobs and fur-
niture and cars and
friendship. American
Jews put themselves out
to be nice to us. This is-
truly a Garden of Eden
compared to what we had
in Russia."
The result has been the
drastic increase in dropouts,
and the consequent reaction
of the Soviet authorities.
Put in very blunt terms,
cruel though it may sound:
Every Russian who went to
America instead of to Israel
helped slam the doors shut
on his friends and relatives
left behind. And every
generous American Jew,
who went out of his way to
ease the path of the new
immigrants, was likewise
contributing to the shutting
off of the exodus from the
Soviet Union.

On the other hand, if the
Jews elect to go to the U.S.,
Russia's great competitor,
they are betraying the
Communist ideal and un-
dermining confidence in its
ultimate victory over the
dark forces of capitalism. A
stream of emigration to
America could lead to a
massive attempt on the part
of others to "get out."
And that is why every
Jew leaving Russia has had
to possess a visa to Israel.
The diversion of Vienna,
heading Jews in the other
direction, has made Soviet
leadership furious. Dulzin
pointed an accusatory
finger at the HIAS organ-
Children bring out of the
ization, which has been
handling the dropouts. This nursery that which displays
criticism is not altogether itself throughout their
fair, since HIAS does not lives.

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