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June 21, 1991 - Image 59

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-06-21

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

NEWS

Soviets Issue
Passport Law

Jerusalem (JTA) — A high-
level pledge from Moscow
that new emigration regula-
tions will not delay the
departure of Soviet Jews for
Israel has raised hopes here
for an upsurge in Soviet
aliyah this summer.
The promise was made to
senior Israeli represent-
atives in the Soviet capital
by the head of OVIR, the
Soviet visa authority, accor-
ding to a report Wednesday
in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.
Such a pledge would be an
unprecedented gesture by
the Soviets to a country with
which they have yet to
restore full diplomatic rela-
tions.
Concern was growing in
Israel that the reforms
designed to overhaul and
liberalize Soviet emigration
policy would put a brake on
aliyah rather than facilitate
it.
According to the new
regulations, which go into
effect July 1, anyone can
leave the Soviet Union but
must have a passport. Israeli
officials feared that the
sheer volume of applications
would bog down the already
overtaxed Soviet bureau-
cracy, forcing potential olim
to wait months or even years
for the required documents.
But the head of OVIR said
the passport requirement
would be waived in the case
of Jews already holding
Israeli visas. Approximately
60,000 persons known to be
in that category are waiting
until the end of the school
year to emigrate.
The mere application for a
passport will suffice to per-
mit their departure.

In addition, according to
Ha'aretz, the Soviets prom-
ised that citizens holding
exit permits but who do not
yet have Israeli visas would
be given priority.
Some 110,000 Jews fall
into that category, official
sources cited by the news-
paper said.
But a powerful Likud
Knesset member has ex-
pressed skepticism about the
Soviet pledge and is urging
Jews to leave the Soviet
Union immediately, before
the new passport law takes
effect.
Michael Kleiner, chair-
man of the Knesset Aliyah
Committee, warned against
a false sense of security
among Jews planning to
emigrate. When the new
regulations take effect, the
Soviet promises may be hard
to implement.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

59

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