Let My People Go!

by Joseph Hunting

Anti-Semitism is an evil virus that has reared its ugly head ever since Egypt reduced the Hebrews to slavery 3,500 years ago.

What is not generally understood is that God has pronounced a curse upon those who practise Jew-hate. Biblical and secular history provide ample evidence of this fact.

Anti-Semitism, or Jew-hate, is expressed in various forms. Perhaps the mildest is that which excludes Jews from membership of certain social or golf clubs. Or there is the unkind and unthinking derogatory slur often cast upon Jewish people, an example of which is the comment in Cassells New English dictionary under JEW: " ... a usurer, an extortionate tradesman ..."

Whilst the world was shocked by the more brutal anti-Semitism practiced by the Nazis which culminated in the Holocaust, little is known of the harassment and persecution undergone by Soviet Jews wishing to emigrate from Russia.

Every week I receive an airmail information bulletin concerning the plight of these Jews. Many are harassed by the Soviet authorities and lose their jobs, and others are thrown into gaol. And some are given exit permits which are later withdrawn for no apparent reason.

Less than twelve hours after he had received the exit permit for which he had waited three years Mark Abramovitch of Kishinev was arrested and thrown into gaol.

The authorities in Kishinev usually tell successful applicants that they must leave their flat within two to three days. In Abramovitch's case the notice to quit was reduced to an impossible two hours. When he went to the housing office to complain he was arrested for "staging a demonstration" and summarily sentenced to fifteen days' imprisonment.

Another successful applicant who had already been given an exit visa was called to the authorities and told, "There has been a mistake; you worked in Chevchenko electronic plant and so you are a security risk." Although he had worked in the plant for three months sixteen years before, and then only as a porter, it took him several months of continuous pressure before his visa was restored.

The above are but two of the many heart-rending accounts which include beatings and imprisonments. Prayer is the most powerful weapon available to us to use on behalf of Soviet Jewry. Just as Moses demanded the release of Israel from bondage in Egypt with the words "LET MY PEOPLE GO' , we ask prayer for Soviet Jews wishing to immigrate to Israel.