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November 08, 1991 - Image 69

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-11-08

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



Soviets Seek
Political Asylum

Amsterdam (JTA) —
Soviet Jews coming here
from Israel are the latest
group clamoring for political
asylum in the Netherlands.
But Dutch authorities say
they have virtually no
chance of getting it. More-
over, the government be-
lieves these Soviet Jews may
be victims of fraud.
Although at least 24,000
foreigners, mainly from
Eastern Europe, have ap-
plied for asylum in Holland
so far this year, the ap-
pearance of Soviet Jews from
Israel is a new phenomenon.
They have begun arriving
lately in groups of about 20 a
week. They fly from Israel to
Budapest and travel by bus
from Hungary to Echt, a
Dutch village near the
Belgian border where aliens
can apply for asylum.
The authorities here
believe there is an organiza-
tion making enormous,
possibly illegal profits help-
ing Soviet Jews leave Israel.
One recent emigre said he
had to pay $1,000 to an
agent in Israel, in addition
to air fare, for help leaving
the country. When he landed
in Brussels, he was met by
another man who demanded
$1,000 to drive him, his wife
and son to the Dutch border,
less than an hour's trip.
Some of the Soviet Jews
interviewed on Dutch televi-
sion complain bitterly of dis-
crimination in Israel for be-
ing "Russians," whereas in
the Soviet Union they were
discriminated against as
Jews.
Several have non-Jewish
wives. Under Orthodox rab-
binical law, which governs
such matters in Israel, their
children are not Jews unless
they undergo conversion.
Some of these parents claim
their children were discrim-
inated against and were not
even admitted to school.
Still, these Soviet Jews
stand no chance of receiving
political asylum in Holland
because they come from
Israel, which is not con-
sidered a country of political
repression.
Soviet Jews coming here
directly from the Soviet
Union stand a better chance
of being admitted to Holland
permanently.

The highest point in Israel is
Mt. Hermon, which rises to
9,220 feet in the Golan
Heights. The lowest point is
the Dead Sea, at 1,286 feet
below sea level, the lowest
spot on the entire surface of
the earth.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

69

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