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"HAVERIM: Russia-Israel"


Compilers are grateful to Norwegian organization

“Help the Jews Home” for cooperation and support


“Collection “Haverim: Russia-Israel” sums up the experience of 10 years of work of human rights group “Movement without Frontiers” (MWF) and includes rich reference material about Russian laws and rules concerning exit from the country; here we tried to clarify the answers to some typical questions which Jews and non-Jews put often at our reception (Chapter 4). In the Chapters 1, 2 the new direction of work of MWF realized in cooperation with Jewish community “Shalom” is repre-sented – this is Know How of effective organization of work of small Jewish community (Chapter 1 written by Edward Alexeev) and information about our – together with Ulpan “Halom” Sanct-Petersburg – Program Statement dedicated to the problems of teaching of Hebrew in Russia. The Title of the Collection reflects the strategic tendency of our epoch: Russia and Israel are historically doomed to friendship and cooperation, and life and problems of Jewish Diaspora in Russia, like in the whole world, are closely interwoven with life and problems of Israel. Because of it we included into the Collection (Chapter 3) the curious although rather sad material which shows that United States until now did not recognize Jerusalem as a capital of State of Israel.

Covering Letter

Dear Friends, the first version of this Collection was earlier distributed among many Jewish com-munities of Russia in electronic version. The paper book “Haverim: Russia — Israel” was published in the August 2003 and it was widely distributed among Jewish organizations in Moscow and all over Russia. The Chapter 4 of the Collection which is dedicated to laws and rules of exit from Rus-sia takes into account the newest amendments to Russian legislation in this field.

During the years 2002-2003 we not a once discussed at different levels and in different organiza-tions the old one but always “young” questions:

1) Why, in spite of enormous money invested into the development of Jewish self-identification in Russia the percentage of Jewish population involved is surprisingly low (in Moscow not more than 10%)?

And there are other questions connected with this one:

2) How to direct the energy (that is the means) not for different “showing off” actions but for support of “friendly” and useful for people “infrastructure of Jewish life”?

3) How to help small Jewish communities of Russia and to prevent them to be “thrown over-board” of the historical process of de-assimilation of post-Soviet Russian Jews?

4) How real is a dream of Israel Prime-minister Ariel Sharon (which he expressed during his visit to Moscow in September 2002) about “one million more” repatriates from Russia to Israel?

Certain answer to these questions may be perhaps the experience of effective organization of Jewish life in community “Shalom” of town Borovichy (see Chapter 1 of the Collection).

Boris Altshuler,

Edward Alexeev,

Leonid Paperno

“Movement without Frontiers”, Moscow;

Jewish Community “Shalom”, town Borovichy, Novgorod Region.



To the memory of Professor Kristoffer Gjotterud.

“One who saves a person – he saves the Universe…”

Chapter 1. Principle of "universality". About work of Community “Shalom”, by Edward Alexeev.

Chapter 2. Positive reaction of Jewish Agency to the Appeal “Hebrew SOS from Russia”, by Boris


Chapter 3. “Where is Jerusalem?”, by David Bedein.

Chapter 4. Right for Exit, by Boris Altshuler and Leonid Paperno.

Instead of epigraph: Israel “Law on Return”.

4.1. Preface.

4.2. Foreign passport – for bomzh (homeless ones).

4.3. Permanent versus temporary exit.

4.4. About preservation of Russian citizenship.

4.5. About service in the Army.

4.6. Amendments and additions of January 2003 to the Russian Law “On Exit from Rus-

sian Federation and Entry to Russian Federation”.

4.7. Problems remain. Address to MWF – we shall try to help you.

Attachment 1: “Game without rules is limited by the rules of the game” – historical Article by Boris

Altshuler and Leonid Paperno.

Attachment 2: Excerpts from the Law “On State Secrecy”.

Attachment 3: Excerpts from the Law “On Exit from Russian Federation and Entry to Russian Fed-eration”.

Attachment 4: Regulations by the Ministry of Interior “On the rules of drawing up and delivery of foreign passports to citizens of Russian Federation”.

Attachment 5: Leonid Paperno, “Instruction for refuseniks on secrecy” – information about the Governmental Commission on Individual Secrecy Refuseniks Cases (MVK); how to address to MVK; addresses and telephones.

About authors of Collection “Haverim: Russia-Israel”.

The advancing of modern civilization with its informational technologies without borders, with its migration of mass of people over Globe, mixing of races and ethnic groups, its unavoidable future creation of the economical, legal, human rights, "anti-terrorist" global space (and the earlier — the better, because there is danger of being too late) has however a negative side-effect of cultural and other unification, of "melting of cultural space" of Mankind, thus making this "cultural space" es-sentially poorer. The problem of preservation of originality of national cultures and traditions capa-ble to enrich each other, is now faced practically by all the peoples of the world. Those aspirations may be only greeted, of course if they are not accompanied by hostility to other nations, by danger-ous separatism, religious or national extremism.

Creation (restoration) of State of Israel in 1948 finalized the 2000 years of marked with auto-da-fe of The Inquisition, pogroms and Holocaust tragic epoch in the history of Jews, and created a new situation for all Jews in the world. Because now every Jew may Go to the Promised Land (we in-cluded in the Collection Israel "Law on Return"), and because now Israel is in fact a guarantor of safety for all the Jews wherever they live. The struggle of Soviet Jews for their right to Go became new historical event. "They flee like rats from a sinking ship!", — a frightened secretary of the Com-munist Party Cell of Moscow State University shouted in a "prophet-like way" at the meeting where they condemned Academician Veniamin Levich who applied for exit visa to Israel in 1971. The wheel of history turned, 20 years later the "ship" really "sank", and one million of Jews of former USSR moved to Israel. On 18 October 1991 the diplomatic relations of State of Israel and of Rus-sian Federation were restored; since then the relations between the two countries have developed and gradually overcome a heavy heritage of many-years anti-Israel politics of Soviet Leadership (we include in the Collection the Press-release of the Foreign Ministry of Israel dedicated to 10 years of restoration of diplomatic relations between Russia and Israel).

However regardless of mass repatriation of Russian Jews to Israel the number of Jews in Russia re-mains quite essential. In this Russia differs from smaller countries of Eastern Europe or Former USSR where Jewish population nearly approached to zero nowadays. In Russia paradoxically the formula "The more go — the more stay" is somehow fair. This joke reflects the objective process of de-assimilation of Russian Jews strongly assimilated in Soviet Union during decades. The process of de-assimilation needs permanent activation, and it also creates cultural, organizational, informa-tional (about Jewish traditions, about Israel...), educational (in studying Hebrew etc.) needs. In Mos-cow, and other big centers these needs may be easily satisfied by everybody who wants it. However even in these centers the crucial problem is to broaden the number of the Jews who want national self-identification. And in small Jewish communities scattered all over Russia we observe the strongest "information-educational hunger".

This Collection does not claim to answer all questions. We hope that the information presented here will be useful and interesting for somebody. We also hope that this initiative will draw attention of JDC, of Jewish Agency, of Russian and foreign organizations to the problems of small Jewish communities of Russia.