HIAS participates in a successful diplomatic effort to gain the release of 15 of the 500 Jewish women seeking permission to leave Syria to find their Jewish husbands abroad.


Refusenik Anatoly Shcharansky is arrested on charges of treason, accused of accepting money from the CIA to foment dissent in the Soviet Union.


The U.S. waives immigration quotas to clear a logjam of Soviet Jews waiting for U.S. visas in Rome.

Azriel, the JDC’s secret program established in the early 1950s to provide material aid to Jews in the Soviet Union, sends 22,000 packages to Jews who have lost their jobs because they applied to emigrate.

Egyptian president Anwar al Sadat becomes the first Arab leader to visit Israel. He speaks before the Knesset about reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


  • Jewish emigrants from the USSR: 16,736
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to US: 6,842
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to Israel: 8,350

Looking Back

In Belgrade, at a follow-up conference to the 1975 meeting at which the Helsinki Accords were signed, an open letter from more than 100 Soviet activists details Soviet violations of the agreement. The Soviet delegate declares that his government will not answer to any charges or accusations.

The KGB stages press conferences at which its agent provocateurs claim that dissidents are recruited as spies by American diplomats, a charge the U.S. denies. In a highly publicized case, refusenik Anatoly Shcharansky is framed by a KGB operative.

A science seminar is held in the apartment of physicist Mark Azbel in Moscow. More than 30 scholars attend, and Jewish dissident scientists who have been barred from their professions present papers. The authorities allow the conference to proceed, even permitting scholars from abroad to participate.

Twenty Jews are held under house arrest during a session of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow in order to prevent them from mounting a demonstration.