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>Israel News Faxx
>JN Fwb. 1, 2017, Vol. 25, No. 23
US: Entry Ban Does Not Apply to Israelis Born in 7 Muslim-Majority Countries
By World Israel News & VOA News
President Donald Trump's ban on travelers and immigrants from seven designated
countries does not apply to Israelis originating from those Muslim-majority states. The US
embassy in Israel issued a statement on Tuesday clarifying the scope of Trump's executive
order, which bans the entry of nationals from seven Mideast and African Muslim-majority
countries, and how it may affect Israelis originating from those countries.
The embassy stated that Israelis born in the seven designated countries do not fall
under the ban, unless they continue to hold citizenship from those countries, which is
generally not the case. "If you have a currently valid U.S. visa in your Israeli passport
and were born in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen, and do not have a
valid passport from one of these countries, your visa was not cancelled and remains
valid," the statement said.
"Similarly, we continue to process visa applications for applicants born in those
countries, so long as they do not have a valid passport from one of those countries and
have not otherwise declared themselves to be a national of one of those countries.
Authorization to enter the United States is always determined at the port of entry," the
embassy clarified in its statement.
The clarification was issued following the Israel's Foreign Ministry's request for
clarification from the US State Department. The executive order imposed a 90-day ban on
nationals of those seven Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The ban could have affected some 140,000 Israelis. Most of them are over the age of 65
and fled the Muslim countries as children. The majority do not hold citizenship from their
countries of birth. However, their Israeli passports state their place of birth, which
caused confusion among Israelis.
In a related story, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be visiting Trump in a
couple of weeks, and the Iranian nuclear threat is at the top of the agenda. Over the
weekend, Iran fired a ballistic missile, in defiance of the nuclear deal signed in 2015
with the six global powers.
Iran's recent ballistic missile launch is "absolutely unacceptable" and the Trump
administration will not turn a "blind eye" to such actions, U.S. Ambassador to the United
Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday. She spoke briefly to reporters after attending her first
meeting of the U.N. Security Council a session Washington requested.
"We did call a meeting today to discuss what we know, which is we have confirmed that
Iran did have a missile launch, a medium-sized missile launch testing on January 29, on
Sunday," she said. "That is absolutely unacceptable."
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif would neither confirm nor deny the
ballistic missile launch. However, he added, "The missiles aren't part of the nuclear
accords. Iran will never use missiles produced in Iran to attack any other country."
Under U.N. Resolution 2231, which was adopted after the Iran nuclear deal was agreed
among six world powers and Tehran in 2015, Iran was "called upon" not to undertake any
activity related to ballistic missiles. But the resolution did not specifically demand
Iran's U.N. mission sent out a statement reiterating its foreign ministry position,
saying, "Security Council Resolution 2231 does not prohibit legitimate and conventional
missile activities. We reject politically motivated comments regarding Iran's missile
Palestinians: UN Chief Must Apologize for Saying Jerusalem Had a Jewish Temple
Palestinians are demanding an apology from the new UN Secretary-General Antonio
Guterres for saying in an Israeli radio interview that it was "completely clear that the
Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple." He added, "No one can
deny that Jerusalem is holy to three religions today, including Judaism.
On Sunday, Adnan al-Husseini, the Palestinian Authority's Jerusalem Affairs minister,
told the Chinese news service Xinhua that Guterres "ignored UNESCO's decision that
considered the Al-Aqsa mosque of pure Islamic heritage." He also said Guterres "violated
all legal, diplomatic and humanitarian customs and overstepped his role as secretary
and must issue an apology to the Palestinian people."
Lebanon: Landmark Ruling Says Homosexuality Not 'Illegal'
By IsraelNationalNews.com & AFP
Lebanon's Court of Cassation has ruled that homosexuality cannot be considered a
criminal act, potentially setting a precedent for the LGBT community in the nation.
Lebanon is considered one of the most progressive Arab nations when it comes to gay
rights. In its ruling last Thursday, the court said homosexual acts do not violate the
country's criminal code because they do not contravene the "order of nature." The judges
ruled that the defendants in the case, who were charged with having homosexual relations,
were innocent because "homosexuality is a personal choice, and is not a punishable
Similar cases in the past led to convictions and prison sentences, but the new ruling
may now lead to legalizing homosexuality. Not long after the ruling, anti-gay Lebanese
took to social media to protest the decision and called for severe punishment of the
Report: Jewish Trump Aide Wrote Shoah Statement Omitting Jews
The White House statement for International Holocaust Day that omitted Jews was written
by a Jewish aide to President Donald Trump, according to an anonymous report.
Boris Epshteyn, a Republican political strategist turned special assistant to the
president, crafted the statement, the political news website Politico reported Monday
evening, citing an unidentified source "with knowledge of the situation." Epshteyn
immigrated to the United States from his native Moscow in 1993 at the age of 11.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during the daily briefing with
reporters that: "The statement was written with the help of an individual who is both
Jewish and the descendant of Holocaust survivors." Asked if it was Jared Kushner, Trump's
son-in-law and a leading adviser, Spicer refused to say. He also said that complaints -
including those of major U.S. Jewish groups - about the omission of Jews from Friday's
statement on International Holocaust Remembrance day, were "pathetic" and "disappointing."
"The president went out of his way to recognize the Holocaust and the suffering that
went through it and to make sure America never forgets the people that were affected by it
and the loss of life," Spicer said. "To suggest that remembering the Holocaust and
acknowledging all of the people Jewish, gypsies, priests, disabled, gays and
lesbians I mean it is pathetic that people are picking on a statement," he
Since the United Nations launched the Remembrance Day in 2005, marking the anniversary
of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have
noted in their statements that the principal aim of the Holocaust was the genocide of the
Jews. Jewish critics have said that omitting Jews from Holocaust commemoration statements,
wittingly or not, plays into the agenda of groups that seek to diminish the Nazi genocide
of the Jews.
A New York-based investment banker and finance attorney, Epshteyn was a communications
aide for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008, focusing his efforts on the
Arizona senator's running mate, then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
The KGB's Middle East Files: The Fight Against Zionism and World Jewry
Break-ins, forgeries, creating front organizations and even planting bombs all
means were justified in the battle that the Soviet intelligence agency waged against the
Zionist movement, the emigration of Jews from the USSR and the world's major Jewish
organizations. Classified documents now reveal that the agency's leaders saw Zionism as a
real threat to the Soviet empire, and did everything in their power against it.
In January 1972, Operation Simon entered its final stage. A team from Service A, a key
department in the KGB's First Chief Directorate (which was responsible for collecting
intelligence and special operations outside the USSR) traveled to Paris to gathered
intelligence ahead of the operation. Service A was responsible, among other things, for
the operations against Zionist and Jewish organizations, an issue of utmost importance as
far as the omnipotent KGB head, Yuri Andropov, was concerned.
In the Soviet intelligence's glossary, Operation Simon meets the definition of "active
measures." Their practical meaning was "aimed at exerting useful influence on aspects of
interest in the political life of a target country, including its foreign policy; the
solution of international problems; misleading the adversary; undermining and weakening
the adversary's positions."
Operation Simon included secretly infiltrating the World Jewish Congress offices in
Paris and copying internal materialmostly documentation on the members of the large
international organization in order to map its ties to other key Jewish
organization. The Russians' surveillance of the headquarters, located in the heart of the
City of Lights, revealed that the employees did not sense any danger. While the threat of
global terrorism had already been raised at the time, no one in the WJC bothered to
install an alarm system or have the offices guarded at night. A KGB team obtained a key to
the front door from one of the employees and copied it.
And so, on February 12, a KGB operative arrived in Paris to carry out the mission. His
nickname was Chub, which in Russian means "a Cossack's forelock." Soviet intelligence
Chub easily infiltrated the building through the main entrance. He worked all night and
photocopied a large number of documents. The loot was impressive: A list of the WJC's
20,000 supporters in France, including their names, addresses and information on the
donations each of them gave the organization, as well as the names of 3,000 subscribers in
55 countries of Information Juive a newspaper for the French-speaking Jewish
Chub quickly passed on the material to the Soviet Union's embassy in Paris and returned
to Vienna the same day using a fake passport. The material reached the desk of General
Nikolai Kosov Antonovich, who was in charge of Service A. The operation, it later
transpired, was relatively easy but not risk-free. In any event, it suggested just how
much Andropov wanted to sabotage Jewish organizations.
In the year that followed, KGB experts worked to analyze the material Chub had stolen,
leading to the planning of a wide-scale operation. On January 4, 1973, Kosov presented the
planned cluster of operations to his boss Andropov, who approved it the next day, and the
operation was underway shortly thereafter.
The KGB created an entire series of sophisticated forgeries based on the stolen
material and on the contact and member lists. The goal was to sow internal dissent and
create a rift between the Jewish organizations, occupying them as much as possible with
internal rows, while deepening the suspicion that they were stealing money from one
Service A created a new fictitious Jewish organization, Union of Young Zionists
a name which may have sounded familiar to some. The intelligence gathering and research
done ahead of the operation revealed that there really was an organization by that name,
which was active in Poland in the 1930s and 1940s.
The fictitious organization sent completely fabricated documents to addresses of
members found in the documents that were stolen from the WJC headquarters. The fabricated
documents framed WJC members of embezzling huge amounts of donations that were supposed to
reach Israel and instead found their way into their own pockets.
The World Zionist Organization and its operational arm, the Jewish Agency, were also
involved in the embezzlement, the fabricated documents suggested. They further revealed a
link between the WJC and radical Jewish organizations that at the time were seeking to
spur anti-Semitic activity in Western nations to encourage immigration to Israel.
A man who worked in an executive role in the WJC in Paris during those years, and who I
recently met there, told me: "It was clear to us that someone was meddling in our affairs.
Suddenly, we began receiving feedback from numerous supporters, friends, and donors
demanding answers, some using harsh words. They wanted to know what had happened to their
donations. We realized we were subject to a serious campaign of disinformation. The
rumors, the accusations, the stories about theft all caused us great harm. There
was a sharp drop in donations alongside an atmosphere of suspicion. Some suspected the
French intelligence, while others suspected the Russians, but the majority really thought
it was a competing organization trying to take our place. Those were very unpleasant
Did you file a complaint with the police? "I was not involved in matters of security,
but I don't think we did. The embarrassment caused by such a thing, that someone would put
so much effort in creating a web of lies about us, or the embarrassment that would be
caused by us even investigating the accusations in the letters, was so great that the
people in charge decided to shelve the matter."
In October 1973, the KGB used information it obtained in Operation Simon to spread
another libel: It created another front organization, this time a French pro-Israel
organization, which was allegedly involved in the murder of a relative of then-French
President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. The murder, according to the non-existent
organization, was in retaliation for the French president's persecution of a group of
Jewish financiers and because of his policy, which was hostile towards Israel.
"The Moscow center was obsessed with the `Zionist subversion' against the Soviet
Union," Prof. Christopher Andrew, the historian of the British intelligence community,
told me. "To the point that they failed to understand how ridiculous it was to try to link
the murder to Israel and to Zionism and that there was no chance people would believe this
story. Although this libel probably did not cause any damage, and was anyway very far from
Moscow's original objective of taking `active steps' against world Jewry and Zionism, they
still saw the entire prank as a great success and were very proud of it."
Operation Simon and the operations derived from it were just one battle of the war
waged by the KGB against the world Jewry and the Zionist Movement. While domestically, the
Second Chief Directorate, which was in charge of internal security, fought against the
"refuseniks"the movement of Jewish emigration from the USSR, the First Chief
Directorate was busy fighting a years-long war, with plenty of manpower and unlimited
funds, against all the major Jewish organizations in the world.
The KGB and politburo heads saw the Zionist and Jewish movements as a clear, immediate
and real danger to world peace and to the integrity of the Soviet empire"a danger
which is only second to the main enemy, the United States." And as farfetched as this may
sound, they really believed in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and were certain that
the Jews were capable of anything.
Beyond the historical interest in stories about the KGB's war on world Jewry, it's
important to note that Russia is currently controlled by the agency's graduates. In light
of the Russians' smear operations, lies, and imaginative and unethical rifts, the
suspicions that Moscow tried to influence the recent US elections or to bring down the
West's Internet servers are definitely understandable.
Yaakov Kedmi, who headed Nativan Israeli intelligence organization that
maintained secret contact with Jews living in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War and
encouraged immigration to Israel and is considered one of the senior experts in
understanding the Soviet intelligence, told me that "the outlook of the leadership in the
USSR and of the KGB was based on the notion that world Jewry was an extremely serious
danger. They believed that its operations center was in the US and that it controlled the
State of Israel from there, as well as controlling the American economy and financial
system and the world's trade and finance system."
In 1992, upon the Soviet empire's downfall, Nativ launched a secret operation to obtain
access to contacts in the former Soviet Union, getting hold of tens of thousands of
documents from nations that were once behind the Iron Curtain.
"We were able to learn just how well the KGB knew Israel and what was happening there,
as well as the importance the organization ascribed to the Zionist movement and world
Jewry," says Kedmi. "The agency saw them as a key enemy, if not the main enemy. The harsh
anti-Jewish approach was shaped by Andropov more than anyone. The first reason for this
approach was personal: Andropov was not one-quarter Jewish, one-third Jewish or half
Jewish. He was Jewish, period. I heard it from senior KGB people. Andropov knew that the
party's leadership was well aware of that, and some of them were infected with
anti-Semitic racist attitudes. In order to prove that he was uninfluenced by his Jewish
descent, and that he was genuinely pure when it came to that matter, he took the most
Israel's close ties with the United States only exacerbated the matter. "The Russians
knew very well that David Ben-Gurion had a clear American inclination, and that as far as
he was concerned, Israel should do everything to be part of the Western bloc and sign a
defense alliance with the US. They saw how the Americans excused Israel for starting the
Six-Day War, forgave it for the creation of the nuclear reactor in Dimona and ignored it,
helped Israel with weapons and supplies during the October 1973 war, etc. They discovered
how strong the Jewish influence was in US election campaigns. In their conversations with
non-Jewish senior American officials, they repeatedly heard complaints about one official
or another who was unable to do something because the Jews got in his way.
"As far as the Russians were concerned, the US-Israel relationship was a natural
symbiosis in the Western imperialism, which was working against them. One is a
continuation of the other. The questions of who wags whose tail and how the tail controls
the dog were purely semantic in their eyes."
True to his paranoid behavior, Andropov ordered the KGB to put great efforts in
monitoring the ties between Soviet Jews and world Jewry. Even a matzah delivery from
Jewish organizations abroad to their brethren in the USSR seemed like a very dangerous
Vladimir Bukovsky, a Russian oppositionist who spent many years in KGB interrogations
and in prison, returned to the Soviet Union as a historian in the early 1990s and managed
to photocopy many documents in the Kremlin archive. He discovered there a transcription of
a top secret report Andropov had submitted to the politburo in March 1975, in which he
said: "The delivery of these packages (of matzah) clearly intensifies the negative
processes the Jewish population in the USSR is undergoing, strengthens their nationalist
feelings and their support of emigration (to the West). The KGB believes the matzah
arriving from abroad must be confiscated immediately."
The organization allotted technological resources and a lot of manpower to monitoring
phone calls between local Jews and Jews in the rest of the world. When it the Soviet Jews
started complaining about the discrimination against them and presenting the USSR in a
negative light, the KGB went to great lengths to cut off the phone communications between
the "nationalist Jews" in the USSR and the "foreign elements supporting them"in
other words, Zionist organizations in the world.
In June 1975, Andropov informed the politburo heads with great satisfaction that the
organization had succeeded in preventing or disconnecting phone calls, although the Jews
had tried to outsmart them by using non-Jewish names, using public phones or dialing
directly instead of through switchboards. Andropov bragged that by clamping down on Soviet
Jews' phone calls abroad, the agency had caused "significant damage to Zionist
organizations in the world."
The KGB saw the US as the global center of Judaism, and therefore as a place to invest
great efforts in. On the other hand, the US did all it could to prevent the KGB from
operating in its territory. Nevertheless, quite a few operations were carried out in the
US as well, in a bid to muddy the local Jewish community's name and create a conflict
between the Jews and other monitories.
For example, the KGB chose the Jewish Defense League (JDL), led by extreme right-wing
activist Rabbi Meir Kahane, to help them unknowingly with this "active measure." The JDL
has tried to carry out attacks against Soviet targets, in protest of the USSR's attitude
towards Jews, which made it a target for the Russians. The KGB conducted intensive
intelligence gathering activities on the JDL, its operation methods and the language it
used to claim responsibility.
In September 1969, and then again several months later, the KGB sent threatening
letters on behalf of the JDL to several representatives of Arab states in the United
Nations, threatening to carry out terror attacks against the Arab diplomats in revenge for
Palestinian acts of terror against Israel and Jews.
The objective was for the letters to spark a lot of anger, not just among the Arabs,
but also among UN leaders and the US law enforcement authorities, as this was happening on
their soil. Indeed, in response to the letters, the UN turned to the Israeli diplomatic
mission and called for action against the JDL, while the FBI stepped up its operations
against the group.
But the highlight of this activity was an attempt to drive a wedge between the Jews and
the blacks in America. On July 25, 1971, Anatoli Kireev, who was in charge of operations
in the US, ordered the KGB branch in New York to launch Operation Pandora. As part of the
operation, a series of explosive devices were planted in African-American neighborhoods in
New York and in one "black" college. After their detonationwhich did not cause
significant damagethe KGB's operatives claimed responsibility on behalf of the JDL.
Pamphlets distributed in "black" areas described the "crimes" allegedly committed by the
JDL and called for revenge. In addition, the KGB handed out pamphlets on behalf of the
Party of National Rebirth, a group of alleged white nationalists, calling on Americans to
save America from the Jews.
Some say that the KGB's operations against the JDL were the last straw as far as Kahane
was concerned and the pressure put on him and his movement by the FBI became too much for
him. So in September 1971 he left the US and immigrated to Israel.
"The way the KGB saw it," says Yaakov Kedmi, "getting involved with the JDL and the
black community in order to create bloody conflicts was a very natural thing. The truth is
that the Jews helped the black leadership in the US immensely. The JDL acted against the
USSR. As far as the Soviets were concerned, it was like killing two birds with one
stoneboth taking revenge on the JDL and making it responsible for the attacks on the
blacks, and severing the ties between the Jews and the blacks in order to encourage the
black revolt against the main government in Washington," Kedmi adds.
In 1975 the KGB branch in New York was deeply involved in helping Russian and Arab
diplomats gather votes for the UN General Assembly resolution that determined that
"Zionism is racism." In 1976, Andropov initiated a series of secret measures, which the
KGB would lead among the global diplomatic community, to push for the appointment of a
special committee to investigate Zionism, similar to the UN committee against apartheid.
The Arab states, led by then-Syrian President Hafez Assad, eventually decided not to
promote the committee.
From the mid-1970s, the USSR toughened its policy on Jewish emigration to Israel. There
were several reasons for the stricter policy: First of all, Andropov grew stronger and
began serving as a full member of the politburo.
Secondly, in 1975, the American Congress approved an amendment to the US-USSR trade act
(the JacksonVanik amendment), which stipulated improvements in the USSR's policy on
human rights issues as a condition for a possible easing of American-imposed trade
restrictions on the USSR. Suspicious as always, KGS officials were certain that world
Jewry was behind the amendment, and so the Soviet Union's human rights policy didn't
change and restrictions on Jews weren't eased.
A third reason was the Soviet Jews' struggle to immigrate to Israel, which also
included subversive operations by Jewish elements against the Soviets and the Americans
using immigration permits to taunt the USSR. "The KGB realized that there was one key
element behind this international campaign (to help Jews leave the USSR and immigrate to
Israel)the Nativ liaison bureau," says Kedmi, who started as Nativ's operations
office and later became the head of the organization.
What did you do to make them so angry? "Who did we not approach and who did we not turn
against themfrom famous writers to intellectuals, politicians, ambassadors, and
actors. They were surprised to learn that a leader in one of the Central American
countries, who was actually one of the Communist leaders in that country, had shamelessly
pressured the Soviet ambassador to allow the Jews to leave. They suddenly discovered a
strong organization using their exact same methods against them, and it drove them
Andropov's response was indeed powerful. Part of the KGB's work plan for 1976 was
dedicated to a series of operations aimed at creating a conflict between Jewish government
opponents who had left the USSR and other opponents, mainly Ukrainians who had left during
World War II. A special effort was dedicated to the National Alliance of Russian
Solidarists (NTS) organization, one of the main anti-Communist movements, in a bid to
create a rift between the veteran members, who were mostly non-Jews, and convince them
that the Jewish members were attempting to expel them.
And considerable efforts were made in 1977 to defame Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal,
allegedly on behalf of former Soviet Jews, after he had issued a series of harsh
declarations against the Kremlin's policy.
In 1978, following a decision by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union to take "measures to expose the reactionary essence of world Zionism and the
anti-Soviet Zionist activity," the KGB and the association of Soviet jurists prepared "the
white paper of Zionism"a horrible lampoon including serious lies.
Through the KGB's secret channels, the book was distributed in 32 countries, handed to
the leaderships of the Communist parties in the US, Canada and other countries, and
distributed among parliament members, ministers and social activists from different
countries, as well as representatives of international organizations, libraries and higher
The book includes, for example, the story of a former Soviet citizen named Abramov. On
April 24, 1978, all shook up, she knocked on the doors of the Soviet embassy in Vienna and
said that she had immigrated to Israel two years earlier with her son Oleg. Like the
"absolute majority" of new immigrants from the USSR, the Abramov family also sought to
return to the old homeland. It turned out, however, as Abramov testified, that "agents of
a special security service, specializing in keeping the immigrants in Israel, pressured us
day and night."
Her son Oleg eventually received a passport, but was murdered a week before the flight
back home. "They wanted to murder me and my daughter as well," she said. "A day before we
left, we were badly beaten by them. At midnight, we escaped to the airport so that no one
would see us. In the morning, we flew to Vienna."
Soviet Jewry's battle against state authorities, and the buzz it created thanks to
Jewish organizations, did not leave the USSR government indifferent. It knew very well
that the country's image suffered a serious blow in the global public opinion.
KGB officials were convinced that this problematic reality, like almost every other
problem, could be changed through "active measures" that would improve the USSR's image as
a country that actually treats its Jewish community well. The organization launched a
series of operations, with the biggest one being against Lord Baron Immanuel Jakobovits,
the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth and one of the most
important intellectuals and leaders of British Jewry of all times, in addition to his
immense contribution in the fields of ethics, morals and medicine.
Jakobovits fought a lot for Soviet Jews and demanded that the country's authorities
"not just `let my people go' but `let my people live'"in other words, that they
significantly improve Soviet Jewry's religious and human rights.
The rabbi had asked numerous times for permission to come and see for himself how the
Jews were living beyond the Iron Curtain, and he was surely surprised when the approval
finally came in November 1975. This unusual development, which was perceived as a good
sign as to the USSR government's attitude towards Jews, was even reported by the Jerusalem
Post with a big headline. No one imagined that behind the charitable move was a
sophisticated KGB plan, and that the rabbi had become the target of an "active measures"
operation against him.
The KGB put together a group of agents and operatives who would be the ones to meet the
rabbi and present him with an utterly distorted picture of the Jews' situation.
"Primarily, it's important to get information about the plans of Rabbi Jakobovits and his
delegation," the Operation Order read.
In order to do so, the rabbi and his secretary were placed under close surveillance,
and one of the undercover operatives even befriended him. The Jews that met with the rabbi
were strictly filtered by the KGB. Some were active agents and some were associated with
the government one way or another. The agents presented the delegation with the
achievements of Jewish writers and cultural figures in developing Jewish culture and art
in the USSR.
KGB agents with senior positions in the religious Jewish community were ordered to
present community life in a positive light, "to talk about celebrating holidays and
observing Shabbat at the synagogue, and to show the delegation a film about the birthday
celebration for Rabbi Levin, the former rabbi of the Moscow synagogue."
There were other meetings with Jews who reported how good their life was and how they
had no intention, even if they were given the option, of emigrating from the USSR. To
further bolster the positive impression, the authorities "accepted" the rabbi's request
and allowed him to meet with Christian clerics, who were also KGB agents and who supported
the accounts about the freedom of ritual and religion he had heard earlier.
The operation was deemed a great success. The rabbi returned from the USSR, and
although he had also held meetings with oppositionists and aliyah activists, the
propaganda planted in his head deeply affected him. In interviews to the media, he said
that the situation in the USSR was not that bad, that no more than 100,000 Jews wanted to
leave, and that the focus should be less on the refuseniks' struggles and more on
improving the community's situation in general. Even years after his visit, when he wrote
his memoirs, he refused to acknowledge the fact that he had fallen victim to a
sophisticated KGB trick.
However, not everyone in the Soviet leadership considered Zionism a great danger, or a
danger at all. There were those in the politburo who argued that Andropov's obsession "is
making us look stupid."
In September 1978, when Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko visited the White House,
he was surprised to be reprimanded by President Jimmy Carter over a person whose name he
was unfamiliar withAnatoly Sharansky. He later changed his name to Natan Sharansky
and went on to become a minister in the Israeli government and in 2009 was appointed the
Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency.
Andropov had ordered to arrest Sharansky and was personally involved in hunting him
down. The persecution continued until Sharansky was tried for treason, espionage and
incitement and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
After his meeting with the American president, in a conversation with Soviet ambassador
in Washington Anatoli Dobrynin, Gromyko referred to Andropov's obsession with Sharansky as
"absurd." But as far as Andropov was concerned, it was not absurd at all. In May 1979, he
approved a special plan of operation against the international efforts in support of
Sharansky. Andropov was especially concerned by a moratorium pledge for the protection of
Yuri Orlov (a human rights activist and scientist in Russia) and Sharansky, which was
signed by 2,400 American scientists and experts calling on American and Western scientists
not to cooperate with Soviet counterparts until the two were released.
The Operation Order is long and complicated, and includes dozens of operation sections,
such as defaming the moratorium's organizers in the Western press; bribing American
scientists to withdraw their support; creating a film named "Lie and Hate," which would
present Sharansky as a CIA agent; and distributing a proclamation on behalf of scientists,
politicians and social activists from West Germany, Italy and other European countries,
which would condemn the boycott of scientists and defend the scientific ties between the
West and the USSR.
In the first half of the 1980s, the refusenik movementthe most prominent aliyah
activistsand the aliyah movement from the USSR reached their lowest point. KGB head
Andropov and his successors happily informed the politburoin a report which was
partially correct at the timethat they had managed to suppress those movements, and
that the Jews who were still active were under continuous surveillance by the agency and
were unable to operate. Andropov reported, for example, in May 1981, that the KGB had
managed to uncover plans for and prevent a meeting in a forest near Moscow both to
commemorate the Holocaust and to protest authorities' refusal to grant Jews exit permits.
Since the early 1980s, as Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev grew physically and mentally
weaker, Andropov's influence grew stronger. He was appointed to replace him upon his death
in 1982, and served as the premier of the Soviet Union until 1984.
During that period, the country's relations with the US reached an unprecedented low
and the tensions were the highest since the Cuban missile crisis. These tensions led to US
President Ronald Reagan's famous speech, in which he referred to the USSR as the "evil
empire," and increased the friction between the countries to the point of the threat of
war. These tensions greatly affected the KGB, which saw the situation as another product
of the Zionist plotwhich dominates the American leadership's state of mindto
undermine the stability of the Soviet bloc. As a result, the KGB expanded its activity
against Zionism. On December 25, 1981, the party was ordered to "improve the intelligence
activity against the subversion of the world's Zionist centers."
Several months later, the heads of all arms of the KGB met in Leningrad for a
conference on Zionism. The conference's speeches stressed the "extensive subversive
activity of the Zionist centers around the world and their infiltration into
decision-making centers in different countries," and claimed that "the Zionist
organizations are affecting some countries' foreign policy and aggravating conflicts
around the world." The conference further stressed that "there is not a single negative
incident in socialist countries that Zionists are not involved in."
The Jews in the USSR, they argued, "are more inclined to betray the country, to wage a
battle against the Soviet regime, to immigrate to a different country, to collect
intelligence on the USSR and to hand it over to enemies."
Following the conference, in the summer of 1982, they issued a "work plan for fighting
Zionism" until 1986. Vladimir Kryuchkov, who was appointed head of the KGB in 1988, also
stressed that "Zionism is the main threat to the USSR and to the Soviet bloc."
The KGB's work plans for the two following years were written in a similar manner. The
KGB heads saw the Freemasonry movement as "part of the global Jewish conspiracy" as well,
asserting that "the American industrial-military network is still dominated by Jews."
Protocols of the first meetings chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev as the USSR leader in 1985
suggest that anti-Semitism did not skip his generation either. When the KGB presented its
work plan against human rights activist Andrei Sakharov and claimed that he was
"one-hundred percent" influenced by his Jewish wife, Yelena Bonner, Gorbachev said,
probably jokingly: "Well, that's what Zionism does to a person."
Nevertheless, it was Gorbachev who released Sakharov from the house arrest he had been
placed under, and later even opened the gates of the USSR for free Jewish emigration,
which led to the arrival of about one million immigrants in Israel in the 1990s.
Research and translation from Russian by Will Styles, Alexander Tabachnik, Yana
Sofovich and Yael Sass. The writer, Ronen Bergman, would like to extend his gratitude and
appreciation to Prof. Christopher Andrew and Dr. Peter Martland of Cambridge
New Branch of Yad Vashem to Open in the Negev
It was revealed that Israel's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has agreed to
construct a new branch of Yad Vashem in the city of Bahadim in the Negev, where a number
of IDF bases are located.
Dr. Haim Gertner, the Director of the Yad Vashem Archives Division, said that Yad
Vashem volunteers from around the country had gathered more than 219,000 items and pieces
of evidence related to the Holocaust over the past six years. He also stated that the Yad
Vashem website was second greatest target for hacks in Israel, trailing only the Foreign
Ministry in hacking attempts.
Israel's Miraculous Ultrasound Brain Treatment Cures 50 Patients!
By World Israel News
Haifa's Rambam Hospital has used non-invasive focused ultrasound brain treatment to
cure 50 patients of essential tremor. After 10 years of suffering from severe tremor that
stopped her from doing what she loves to do the most, Haya Mandelbaum, a baker from a
small city near Haifa, went to Rambam hospital to undergo advanced noninvasive brain
surgery using the focused ultrasound technology (FUS).
Just a few days later, Mandelbaum returned to Rambam to give out traditional Chanukah
donuts she had made herself." A great miracle happened here" she told the team that
treated her, quoting a line from the story of the miracle of Chanukah. "I got my life
back!" She was one of 50 patients cured by FUS treatment at Rambam.
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