Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight


A Window into the Charedi World | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Russian Jewry Calls For Help From The West

By Arnon Yafe, Paris

Rabbonim have joined with other leading Russian Jewish figures in issuing a plea to the West to help them to overcome a Communist campaign against the Jews of Moscow and outlying regions. Antisemitic incitement from the podium of the Duma (Russian parliament) as well as violent attacks against rabbonim and synagogues, are manifestations of this current phenomenon.

According to the London Times, Russian Jewish leaders have written to the parliaments of Britain and France, the United States Congress and the European Parliament in Brussels, informing them of the latest wave of attacks and incitement, and urging them to respond by severing all ties with Duma members who fail to condemn these actions. The Western legislators have yet to be heard from.

The Communists have lately adopted the tactic of lacing their attacks with an anti-Zionistic slant. For example, Yevgeni Zuganov, head of the Communist party, has recently attributed the fall of the Soviet Union to -- as he calls it -- "The International Zionist movement."

In an interview, Moscow Chief Rabbi wonders aloud why Western Jewry, which was most vocal against Russian antisemitism since Czarist times, now seems unperturbed by this latest onslaught.

Sources among Russian Jewry say that outbreaks of antisemitism in other parts of the former Soviet Union are also on the upswing. Ukrainian Jews have been accused of smuggling sensitive scientific technology to Israel, contrary to any evidence. In addition, several Jewish Agency representatives have been expelled for trying to recruit scientists for aliya to Israel. The flight of Ukrainian Jews is especially worrying to authorities there.

The British weekly, The Economist, recently devoted a special feature to this development. The article states that thirty thousand Jews (out of a total 300,000) are emigrating yearly, with Israel, Germany and the U.S. their main destinations. The Economist goes on to forecast that if these trends continue, virtually every Ukrainian synagogue will be boarded up within 12 years.

HaRav Yaakov Bleich of the Ukraine takes a neutral stand on the emigration question, saying only that whether the Jews remain or leave, the prime objective of the local rabbinate is to infuse the Jews with a renewed attachment to Torah and Yiddishkeit to the greatest possible degree.


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