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Since the day on which the state was establish in 5708 (1948) until the Six-Day War in 5727 (1967) about half a million Jews from the Eastern Bloc made Aliya to Israel. Hundreds of thousands came from Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, yet only a few thousands came from the Soviet Union. The Olim were handled by two departments in the Jewish Agency: The Aliya Department handled their departure and preparing them for their arrival in Israel, and the Absorption Department assisted in their absorption in Israel. The relationship between the two departments, each headed by representatives of different parties, was always tense. The usual grievance of the Absorption Department was that the Aliya Department prided itself on brining as many Olim as possible, including the sick, disabled, elderly and more – which were difficult to absorb.
The Soviet Authorities – First under the leadership of Joseph Stalin (who died in 1953) and later under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev (who ruled from 1953 to 1963) – went to considerable lengths to block the Jews from leaving their country. During those years, they also disseminated antisemitic libels (such as the doctors' libel), held show trials for hundreds of Jews (on charges of treason, collaboration with Zionism and Israel and involvement in improper economic matters), executed thousands of Jews (including hundreds of authors, poets, artists and intellectuals) and sent tens of thousands to work camps and gulags. The communist state authorities fought aggressively against all the religious, cultural and Zionist Jewish institutions and attempted to suppress any spark of Judaism within their country.
The Zionist Policy towards the Soviet Union: Avoidance of an Open Struggle and Clandestine Operations
The first governments of Israel – headed by David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Sharett and Levi Eshkol – fought cautiously against the denial of human rights from the Soviet Jews. They operated according to three principles: (a) Separation of the Jewish question from the inter-bloc conflict between East and West; (b) Avoidance of an open struggle against the Soviet state; (c) Non-exposure of the State of Israel's initiatives for the Soviet Jews. These principles were also binding upon the leadership of the Jewish Agency, which was headed during those years by Berl Locker (1948-1956), Zalman Shazar (1956-1961) and Moshe Sharett (1961-1965).
In 1953, a "Mossad" unit called "Nativ" was established in the Prime Minister's Office, which was headed by Shaul Avigur, one of Ben-Gurion's loyalists. "Nativ" was intended to operate covertly in order to promote Aliya from Eastern Europe and Avigur was charged to gather information on

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