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May 06, 1988 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-05-06

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

UP FRONT

Glasnost Opens Window For
Jews To Exit, Gitelman Says

ELIZABETH KAPLAN

Staff Writer

T

he truth is still not one,"
a Soviet author wrote. "There
are still many truths. There is
the people's truth; there is the state's
truth?'
Published in the Soviet Union on-
ly two years ago, these words il-
lustrate a paradox never expressed
publicly until the rise to power of
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
His apparent willingness to open
the gates of democracy is just one way
in which Gorbachev is different from
previous Soviet leaders, according to
Dr. Zvi Gitelman, professor of political
science at the University of Michigan.
Speaking at Cong. Shaarey Zedek
on "Gorbachev's Reforms and the
Future of Soviet Jewry," Gitelman
said that the Soviet leader is younger
than his predecessors, that he is the
first since Lenin to have been train-
ed in law and that he has no political
experience outside the Russian
republic.
During the speech, which was
sponsored by Shaarey Zedek, the
Soviet Jewry Committee of the
Jewish Community Council, the
Wayne State University B'nai B'rith
Hillel Foundation and the school's
departments of humanities and
political science, Gitelman said Gor-
bachev "has had little exposure to the
views, the problems and the aspira-
tions of the non-Russian republics."
This includes Soviet Jews.
Gitelman said Gorbachev is try-
ing to break the Soviet government's
tradition of treating the masses in a .
paternal way. For many years now,

the leadership has controlled the
Soviet public in return for health care,
education and protection.
Now Gorbachev is "pulling the
state back from its controlled super-
vision of the daily lives of everyday
people," as can be seen in the new
freedom for artists and writers.
In exchange, Gitelman said, Gor-
bachev expects great initiative. "He
wants his children to be more respon-
sible, particularly in the economic
area."
The "catchwords" of this new ap-
proa.ch are the ubiquitious
perestroika, glasnost and
democratizatzia.
Gitelman said glasnost (openess)
has "opened up for discussion many
of the hitherto never-discussed sub-
jects," especially in the press and the
arts. Topics like the Soviet presence
in Afghanistan, KGB human rights
violations, drug addiction and
psychiatric abuses have been brought
into the open for the first time.
Gitelman compared perestroika
(restructuring) to the foundation of a
house which is being remodeled. That
is, "it does not mean changing the
fundamental structural aspects of the
Soviet system, but tinkering with and
reshaping the Soviet infrastructure,"
he said.
As an example of this, Gitelman
pointed to the more than 50 new
ministers appointed by Gorbachev;
under Leonid Brezhnev, such stabili-
ty prevailed that "once you got a job,
you really had to make an enormous
effort to get yourself kicked out."
Yet he cautioned that novelty in
position does not necessarily signal

Continued on Page 10

Michael Oyserman of Israel and Vlad Dopovetsky take the oath of citizenship last week at the
Jewish War Veterans Memorial Home in Southfield. The JWV distributes copies of the Bill of
Rights at weekly swearing-in ceremonies in Detroit and occasionally hosts the ceremony.

Local Holocaust Survivors
Criticize Senators' Letter

STAFF REPORT

T

he presidents of several local
Jewish organizations have
written to Michigan's two U.S.
senators to protest a "land for peace"
solution to "the Middle East crisis."
The writers were responding to a
March letter signed by Carl Levin,
Donald Riegle, and 28 other senators,
asking Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir to support an international
peace conference. The four presidents
and Rabbi Leo Goldman of Congrega-
tion Shaarey Shomayim wrote, "As
survivors of the Holocaust, we know
first-hand such 'formulas' are fool-
hearty (sic) at best, tragic at worst."

Last month, the Council of Or-
thodox Rabbis wrote a similar letter
of criticism and discussed the matter
with Levin.
The survivors' letter recited a
litany of world concessions to the
Nazis in failed efforts to appease Adolf
Hitler. It was signed by Simon Cieck
of the Jabotinsky Society, Nathan
Harris of Albert Einstein Lodge of
B'nai B'rith; Abraham Weberman of
Shaarit Haplaytah — Survivors of
1945; Michael Weiss, chair of the sur-
vivors' committee of the United
Jewish Social Club; and Rabbi
Goldman.
Goldman told The Jewish News

Continued on Page 11

ROUND UP

Saudi Seeks
To Make Aliyah

Tel Aviv (JTA) — A Saudi
businessman, together with
his wife and their 10 children,
has approached the Jewish
Agency in London with a re-
quest to immigrate to Israel,
according to published
repbrts.
The man said that his fami-
ly is descended from Saudi
Jews, and that they were forc-
ed to convert to Islam during
the days of Mohammed, but
they secretly preserved their
loyalty to their Jewish
origins.
His family has lived in
isolation, he said, because
their skin color is lighter
than that of other Saudis. He

decided to leave Saudi Arabia
following a dispute with the
Saudi prince.
The agency official said he
would have to wait for in-
structions from Jerusalem.

Exits Highest
Since 1981

New York (JTA) — A total of
1,088 Jews left the Soviet
Union during the month of
April, according to figures
provided by the National Con-
ference on Soviet Jewry and
the Geneva-based In-
tergovernmental Committee
for Migration.
This is the highest number
of Jews to leave the Soviet
Union in a single month since
May 1981, when 1,110
emigrated.

-The April figures bring
1988 emigration to date to
3,526 Jews, surpassing the
1982 year-end total of 2,688
as well as totals for all years
since.
Of the 1,088 Soviet Jews
who left in April, 173 settled
in Israel, including 11 who
took direct flights there via
Bucharest, Romania. During
the first four months of 1988,
a total of 743 Jews settled in
Israel.

U.S. Pushes
Taba Solution

Jerusalem (JTA) — Abra-
ham Sofaer, the U.S. State
Department's legal adviser,
met separately with Egyptian
and Israeli officials in an ef-

fort to achieve a compromise
agreement before their
dispute over Taba is resolved
by binding arbitration.
Sofaer met with Israeli offi-
cials here after talks he had
in Cairo last week. He
reportedly has come up with
a plan that would give Egypt
sovereignty over Taba, a half-
acre strip of beach near Eilat
on the Red Sea. But, accor-
ding to the plan, Israel would
continue to operate two vaca-
tion resorts built there by
Israeli entrepreneurs.
The resorts are the Avia
Sonesta, a luxury hotel, and
the Rafi Nelson Holiday
Village. Sofaer reportedly has
suggested that Egypt and
Israel own the hotels jointly
through a holding company.

Edward Levy Jr.
Heads AIPAC

Detroiter Edward C. Levy
Jr. has been elected national
president of AIPAC, the
American Israel Public Af-
fairs Committee.
Levy has served as vice
president of the pro-Israel lob-
bying group for several years.
He is a board member of the
Jewish Welfare Federation of
Detroit and has been active
with the Detroit • Interfaith
Round Table of the National
Conference of Christians and
Jews, Tel Aviv University's
Center for Strategic Studies,
Children's Hospital of
Michigan and the Michigan
Cancer Foundation.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

5

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