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December 06, 1985 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-12-06
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COVER

Victim
(Continued from Page 5)
the conditionthat he would not be
identified. said, "Jews are a
scapegoat for the government - they
are blamed for everything that goes
wrong. Jews are an easy target. They
live everywhere, but are truly a
majority nowhere. Traditional anti-
semitism also makes the Jews
vulnerable."
Gurevich, who left the Soviet Union
in 1973, said there is a massive anti-
Israeli propaganda campaign in the
Soviet Union. "Arab/Israeli conflicts
are slanted against the Israelis - not
everything is presented. Israelis are
depicted as killers of Arab babies,"
Gurevich said.
Asher Blank, a Jewish emigre who
left the Soviet Union in 1969, said,
"the propaganda is so strong, 24,
maybe 28 hours you are barraged."
Blank, who now lives in Israel, was
recently in Ann Arbor for a medical
convention. In his hotel room, he ex-
citedly pointed out the luxuries that
were at his fingertips.
"Look, when I turn on the TV, I
hear the voice of freedom," he said.
"I can study anything I want. If you
study Hebrew in Russia, or apply to
emigrate, you are a Zionist, and this
is anti-Soviet. A normal life, where
you can learn what you want to can-
not co-exist with the Soviets," Blank

said.
Elie Wiesel, a professor at Boston
University and noted Jewish author,
said, "It is impossible to live Jewishly
in the Soviet Union."
"Jewish history is a series of
responses to suffering," Wiesel said.
"Since the times of the Roman
persecution until now the Jews went
on studying, and they'll go on
studying now - Clandestinely. The
spirit of Soviet Jews is a greater
miracle than the establishment of
Israel."
Blank said he taught Hebrew in
Russia even though he didn't have
any books and had to teach behind
drawn curtains. "To be religious is to
say, 'I'm crazy - put me in the
hospital,' " Blank said. He carries the
photographs of three men who are
currently in prison for teaching
Hebrew.
Independently studying Hebrew is
strictly forbidden, but Jews also en-
counter difficulty gaining admittance
ce to universities. "Everything is
political in the Soviet Union," Blank
said.
Written exams are standardized,
but Gitelman said that authorities can
discriminate when grading essays
and oral interviews. "The fact that
there are multiple such instances is
clear," he said.
To get into medical school, one
refusenik who Roth and Muchin
visited had a friend who is a printer
erase the mark from his application

to take the entrance exam that
distinguishes him as a Jew.
But to take the exam, the refusenik
also had to show his passport which is
marked "Jewish." To avoid showing
his passport, he presented his ap-
plication to the authorities one minute
before the exam was administered
and said he forgot his passport, Roth
said.
"The Jews have to resort to tricks
Jewish," she said.
Gitelman said the Soviets justify
their more stringent requirements for
Jews by saying, "if the Jews are
going to leave the Soviet Union then
why should we educate them?"
Jews and legislators were watching
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at
the summit to predict whether Soviet
policies toward the Jews will change
with the new leadership. Gorbachev
answered that question when he told
Rev. Jesse Jackson "the so-called
problem of Soviet Jews does not exist
in the Soviet Union."
Wiesel, speaking in a steady stream
with confidence and passion in his
voice, called for more mobilization
among the Westerners. "In the early
'60s the movement was
mobilized . . . it was spon-
taneous . . . we must find that fervor
now in ourselves," he said.
Echoing Wiesel's call for action,
Gitelman said, "It is important for
Jews who have been singled out as
pariahs to know that there are people
who care."

Legislators are also trying to
promote change and keep the issue
alive in America. Rep. Sander Levin
(D-Detroit), who met with five
refusenik families last summer, said,
"We have to put immense pressure on
Russia. There's not much quarrel
about that in Congress - the only
to get anywhere," Roth added. "They
hesitated to let him in, but then let him
go because they thought he wasn't
disagreement is how best to do it."
Levin is co-chairman of The Call to
Conscience - a group which makes
an effort each day to have members
of Congress talk about the issue. "In
this way the issue is highlighted and
kept alive. Soviet officials are aware
that this will not go away and
Congressmen will keep asking why
people aren't allowed out of the coun-
try and why people are tried for being
Jews," said Michael Schwartz,
Levin's press secretary in
Washington.
Levin said, "We have to keep up the
public clamor and protesting. We
have to keep passing resolutions and
raising the issue at every possible
meeting. The President needs to
speak-up publicly and be firm with
Gorbachev in private negotiations at
the same time."
After visiting the refuseniks, the st-
udents, professors, and legislators
said they felt even more committed to
helping the Jews. Winnick said "they
were so warm - they treated me like
a member of their family when they

asked if people in the West knew
about them I said 'Yes, and I'm going
to go back and make as much noise as
I can!"
Roth added, "They're our people
and they're suffering so much. We
have to help theirg."
LIBERAL ARTS
MAJORS
You're Needed
All Overthe
World.
Ask Peace Corps volunteers why
their ingenuity and flexibility are
as viral as their degrees. They'll
tell you they ore helping the
world's poorest peoples ottain
self sufficiency in the areas of food
production, energy conservation,
education, economic develop-
ment and health services. And
they'll tell you about the rewards
of hands on career experience
overseas. They'll tell you it's the
toughestjob you'll ever love.
PEACE COOPC

December 6, 1985 Daily

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