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Jews in Former Soviet Union:
Israel's Reaction to the Jackson-Vanik Amendment

(October 19, 1974)


Jews of Soviet Union: Table of Contents | Immigration to Israel | Pale of Settlement


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For a number of year, many U.S. Senators had tried to remove the barriers to the right of Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union by linking that demand, through the Jackson Amendment to the Trade Reform Act, to trade and tariff benefits which the Soviets were interested in securing from the United States.
After negotiations with the Soviet Union, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sent a letter to Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson on October 18, 1974, in which he announced that assurances had been received from the Kremlin that would-be immigrants would no longer be penalized or intimidated and that "the rate of emigration from the USSR would begin to rise promptly from the 1973 level."
The following are messages of appreciation from Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Yigal Allon to President Ford, Secretary Kissinger, Senators Jackson, Javitz and Ribicoff and Congressmen Mills and Vanik:

Message to President Gerald Ford

My Dear Mr. President,

The announcement that agreement has been obtained facilitating immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel is causing great joy to the people of Israel and to Jewish communities everywhere. This achievement in the field of human rights would not have been possible but for your personal sympathy for the cause involved, for your direct concern and deep interest. I would wish you to know Mr. President how deeply this has been appreciated. I would like to express to you our heartfelt gratitude.

With warm personal regards,

Sincerely

Yitzhak Rabin
Prime Minister

Messages to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

My Dear Mr. Secretary,

I consider the agreement facilitating immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel a great step forward in the sphere of human rights. I need hardly emphasize that the announcement is causing great joy throughout Israel. I am mindful of the effort which you have personally devoted to this cause over so many months, your personal role in the attainment of this achievement is deeply appreciated by myself, my colleagues and, in fact, by everyone in Israel and by Jewish communities throughout the world.

With warm personal regards,

Sincerely

Yitzhak Rabin
Prime Minister of Israel


Dear Henry,

Now that the struggle for the right of emigration of Soviet Jews has come to a successful conclusion, I should like to express to you our appreciation of your invaluable contribution to this humanitarian cause.

I am fully aware of the pitfalls and obstacles you encountered on this long and difficult road. It is an additional proof of your extraordinary patience and negotiating skill - if proof is needed at all - that they have been successfully overcome.

By achieving what only a short while ago seemed impossible, you have added a glorious page to the great American tradition of championing human rights and freedom.

Everybody who cherished these ideals, and the Jews of the USSR in particular, owe you a great debt.

Yigal Allon
Foreign Minister of Israel


Message to Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson

Dear Scoop,

The agreement which has been achieved concerning immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel has been published in this country -a few hours ago and is evoking waves of joy throughout Israel and no doubt throughout Jewish communities in every part of the globe. This great achievement could not have been possible but for your personal leadership which rallied such wide support in both Houses of Congress, for the endurance with which you pursued this struggle and for the broad human idealism which motivated your activities on behalf of this great humanitarian cause. At this time therefore I would like to send you my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude.

Yitzhak Rabin
Prime Minister of Israel


Dear Scoop,

Please accept my heartfelt thanks and congratulations on the successful conclusion of your historic struggle for the principle of freedom of emigration in the well known and long-standing American tradition. Your perseverance and that of your colleagues in the U.S. Congress, deserve the warmest commendation, Your efforts in this matter manifest once again your deep understanding of our needs and your constant support of the cause of Israel. The people of Israel, the Jews of the USSR, and indeed world Jewry and everybody who cherishes justice and liberty owe you a great debt.

With warm personal regards,

Yigal Allon
Foreign Minister of Israel

Message to Senators Javitz & Ribicoff; Congressmen Vanik & Mills

At this time there is great joy in Israel and no doubt through-out Jewish communities everywhere at the announcement of the agreement which has been obtained facilitating immigration of Jews from the Soviet Union.

We are aware of the major role which you personally played in the effort for the realization of this significant goal and I would like therefore to send you my sentiments of appreciation and gratitude.

With personal regards,

Yitzhak Rabin
Prime Minister of Israel


My Dear Senator Javitz:

Now that an agreement has been reached facilitating Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union I want you to accept my sincere thanks and congratulations for the great role that you have played in bringing it about:

Together with your colleagues in the Senate and the House you have helped to bring about the beginning of a realization of our great dream of free immigration of Jews from the Soviet Union and an end to harassment. We hope and pray that the near future will show concrete results to this humanitarian endeavor for which the people of Israel, the Jews in the Soviet Union and the World over owe you a debt of gratitude.

With warm personal regards,

Yigal Allon
Foreign Minister of Israel


I would like to thank you for the leading part you played in bringing about the agreement that will facilitate Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union.

I am well aware of the many difficulties and obstacles that had to be overcome and I commend you on your leadership and tenacity and those of your colleagues in the House which made this attainment possible.

With warm personal regards,

Yigal Allon
Foreign Minister of Israel

Message to Senator Abraham Ribicoff

My Dear Senator Ribicoff,

I know what a great part you have played in bringing about the agreement that was reached this morning facilitating emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union.

The tenacity and perseverance expressed by you and your many colleagues in both Houses of Congress facilitated this agreement and brought about the realization of our great hope of free immigration of Jews from the Soviet Union and an end to harassment. May we all see in the near future the realization of this hope for which we owe you a special debt of gratitude.

With warm personal regards,

Yigal Allon
Foreign Minister of Israel


Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry

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