Valery Engel, the Executive Director of Russia's Federation of Jewish Communities, speaking yesterday, June 28, at a press conference concerning the opening in Moscow, on July 1, of the World Congress of Russian-speaking Jews, said, 'As of this time, the Jewish question in Russia has been resolved'.
He further said, 'There is no longer any governmental anti-Semitism in Russia'. Mr. Engel said he believed that fundamental change in Russia's internal policies as concerned Jews had occurred in the end of President Gorbachyov's epoch. Today Jews have no problem entering any higher school or getting hired to do any job.
As goes Mr. Engel's observation, today, the treatment of Jews and Israel in Russia is even better than in some European countries such as England or France. As to common anti-Semitism, he said, it had always been around and would continue. One can find 'Death to Kikes' even in some Israeli newspapers. 'On this level', Mr. Engel concluded, 'the problem will persist for years to come'.
Berl Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia, said, 'Today's Russia is no Soviet Union. It firmly remains on the way of democratic reforms and there are good conditions in the country for the development of all religious denominations. Most Jews who left the Soviet Union 30 years ago today have bad misconceptions about Russia. We must make sure they can see the truth'. Mr. Lazar expressed hope the upcoming World Congress of Russian-speaking Jews would be helpful in doing just that.
Valery Engel said the constituent assembly would convene on July 1 and 2 to continue during the following two days in Jerusalem, according to the decision of the Chairman of the opening congress. Expected to attend are 550 participants from 21 countries, mostly the former republics of the USSR, Canada, the US, and Australia. In 2003, the congress will be expectedly also attended by the representatives of China, New Zeeland, and Sweden. The congress will assume the status of an international non-governmental organisation, its four headquarters located in Moscow, New York, Berlin, and Jerusalem.
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