HIAS declares 1984 the “Year of the Iranians” due to the increased numbers of Iranian Jewish refugees. Some 450 register for HIAS assistance in Vienna. Operation Yakhin: The Secret Immigration of Moroccan Jews to Israel by Shmuel Segev is published. The book discloses details of HIAS’ involvement in the aliyah of Moroccan Jews to Israel in the 1960s.


In February, Soviet leader Yuri Andropov dies after only 16 months in power. He is succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko.

Restrictions are placed on contact with foreigners. Prison sentences are mandated for anyone passing “secrets” to foreigners, and Soviet citizens are required to register foreign houseguests with authorities.


Israel mounts “Operation Moses,” a six-week secret mission to airlift 6,500 Ethiopian Jews to Israel.


  • Jewish emigrants from the USSR: 896
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to US: 489
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to Israel: 340

Looking Back

For the first time since the 1960s, less than 1,000 Jews are allowed to leave the country in a given year. Two refuseniks from Leningrad, Yaakov Gorodetsky and Evgeny Lein, write an open letter to Jews in the West that calls for activists to move beyond “mere statements of solidarity” by stepping-up political and public relations action on behalf of Soviet Jews. They cite the force-feeding of Anatoly Shcharansky after his hunger-strike in prison and the blinding of the imprisoned Kyiv refusenik Yosif Bernshtein as signs of how desperate the situation has become.

During his attendance at a scientific meeting in Leningrad in July, former Israeli president Ephraim Katzir is detained and interrogated by the KGB for attempting to meet with refuseniks.