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The Brussels Conference: "I am still excited that there are Jews who insist on and fight to make Aliya to the Land of Israel"
In February 1971, a conference for the Soviet Jews was convened in Brussels for the purpose of intensifying the pressure on the Soviets. The Conference was attended by 760 delegates from 38 countries as well as dozens of journalists and hundreds of observers. The Conference was organized by the Head of "Nativ" Nehemiah Levanon – Shaul Avigur's successor – and its partners were the World Zionist Organization, the World Jewish Congress and the "B'nai B'rith" Organization. Several renowned personages were invited to the Conference from throughout the Jewish Diaspora: Zionists and non-Zionists, secular and religious, old and young. The most prominent among the personages that arrived in the Conference were the former Chairman of the Jewish Agency and Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, the United States Ambassador to the UN Arthur Goldberg, the Partisan and poet Abba Kovner, Prof. Gershom Scholem, Knesset Member Menachem Begin, several former Refuseniks as well as the Rabbi Meir Kahane, who had caused a commotion and was removed from the Conference. Ben-Gurion, who was 84 then, had left Israel for the last time to go to Belgium. The flight was not easy for him and he fell ill upon arriving in Brussels – remaining in his hotel room for two days. On the final day of the Brussels Conference he gave his speech and stated that after all he has endured in his life he is "still excited that there are Jews who insist on and fight to make Aliya to the Land of Israel and who are prepared to fight tirelessly and even stand trial and be imprisoned for it." In his speech he emphasized: "The process of the ingathering of the exiles to the Land of Israel is not yet completed and we must persist with it and continue to do it."
The Brussels Conference ended with the commitment of the Jewish representatives "to double and triple our efforts to mobilize the conscience of all people until justice is done for the Soviet Jews. [...] we shall not rest until the Soviet Jews are free to choose their fate." Abba Kovner said at the end of the Conference: "This was a huge demonstration of the world Jewry. Such a conference I cannot recall. It was wonderful. I have no words to describe this historic event. Now the most important thing is to continue and not let go."
In retrospect it turned out that despite the public commitments of the representatives of the world Jewry, all the entities that participated in the Conference returned to their regular daily routine, and the struggle for the Soviet Jews did not progress much.
"An Alliance of Kindred Women" with Ida Nudel
The weakness of the Jewish organizations in the world did affect the struggles of the Jews within the Soviet Union. One of those who became an example and a symbol of the struggle was Ida Nudel, who stated that she was so touched by the attempt to hijack the plane and the subsequent "Leningrad Trials" that she became a Zionist activist and a warrior for human rights.
In 1971, Ida Nudel filed her first application to make Aliya to Israel and join her family. She was refused and was even fired from her job in 1972. Beginning in that year she did not cease fighting

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