Letters from Gabriel Shapiro to the Committee for Human Rights at the United Nations Regarding his Attempts to Emigrate from the USSR to Israel
October 25, 1971
Mrs. Tamar Eshel
Commission of Human Rights
United Nations Organisation
New York, New York
Dear Mrs. Eshel,
I would like to begin by telling you that I am one of those Jews in the Soviet Union whose primary goal in life is a reunification in our Homeland: Israel. It is only by living there that my goals in life can be attained. As is well known to you, the road to these goals is not a paved road for any of us. Instead, it is a road full of tortures and cruelties meted out by the Soviet authorities. Therefore, I would like to emphasize that everything I am telling about myself can be told about all Soviet Jews who wish to emigrate to Israel.
My task began when I received an invitation from my relatives in Israel. This invitation reached me in the beginning of November of last year. I succeeded in obtaining all of the necessary papers by the end of February, i.e. after three months, but the person in charge of the office where I worked at the time refused “point blank” to give me the necessary character references required when application is made to the (Ovir) (visa) Office. Without these documents, the Ovir Office refused to accept any of my papers and I was placed in a vicious circle where I still remain, due to my desires to go to Israel. Allow me to explain this vicious circle: my case was further complicated by my expulsion from work. Eventually, the Ovir Office accepted my papers without the character references. After I had been one of the strikers at the General Prosecutor’s Office in Moscow, I was invited to the Ovir Office and informed that the previous decision to give me an exit permit was cancelled and I would not be permitted to go to Israel due to “bad behavior.” Following this refusal I submitted papers requesting that I be allowed to give up my Soviet citizenship. This was being done as a protest to the authorities for the aforementioned refusal reason (“bad behavior”). However, up to this time, I have had no response to my request. I have applied for an Israeli citizenship and I was informed that this was granted and I am now an Israeli citizen.
During a long period of time I went to various government offices to find out why my request for an exit permit had been refused. Several weeks ago, October 1971, I was informed that a mistake had been made previously and that the refusal to give me the exit permit is based on “secrecy,” due to the fact that in the place where I used to work, I had access to secret documents. I must state that after completion of my studies at the Moscow University in the Faculty of Chemistry I worked as an engineer and during the entire duration of my employment there, I never had any access to secret documents. It has to be taken into account that after I received my invitation, I changed my job.