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crossed the "Iron Curtain" and reached Austria, sought after ways to immigrate to other countries and not to Israel. Hundreds of thousands (!) dropped out along the way and reached the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany and other countries.
The first dropouts started to appear already in the early Seventies, but back then they were few. Nehemiah Levanon, who headed "Nativ" in the years 1970-1982, told in his book "Code Name: Nativ" of the first group of dropouts, which numbered 56 families and which gathered in the Schönau Camp in 1971. The people from the Agency and the people from the Ministry of Absorption, who debated their refusal, looked at the other thousand Jews who yearned to make Aliya to Israel – and decided to give up on them. In Levanon's opinion, they did not correctly appreciate the size of the loophole they were creating.
Over the years, the dropout rate grew and raised many concerns. By 1977, 148 thousand Jews left the Soviet Union – using the "demands" from Israel – yet only 123 thousand of them came to Israel, i.e. a 20% dropout rate. A series of non-Zionist organizations in the United States – headed by "HIAS" (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) and Christian aid organizations – encouraged the dropout. They assisted those who dropped out with significant sums of money, housing arrangements and more. Those organizations claimed that the most important thing for them is that Jews get rescued from the Soviet confinement and that it would be proper to grant them the freedom to settle wherever they wish.
The scope of the dropout increased in the late Seventies and in 1979, 60% of those leaving the Soviet Union did not arrive in Israel. Various personages in Israel sought to combat the dropout and the organizations that assisted them, but other personages in Israel and the world –
various proponents of civil liberties – were unwilling to back them up, and the former were forced to give up.
Anatoly (Natan) Sharansky: The First "Prisoner of Zion" Released by American Pressure
Anatoly Borisovich Shcharansky – known today as Natan Sharansky – was a civil rights warrior with a link to Zionism. He was born in January 1948 in Donetsk, Ukraine, studied practical mathematics at the Moscow Institute of Technology and graduated cum laude with a master's degree. In 1973, he first applied for an exit visa to Israel – and was denied. Since he believed in the need to fight the repression of civil liberties in the Soviet Union, and since he knew English well, he began working as a translator for the renowned physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov. In 1974,
he married Avital (Natalia) and the couple requested a visa for Israel. Avital received the exit visa and the two decided that she must make Aliya, hoping that her husband would arrive immediately after her.
Yet Sharansky, who intensified his activities against the violation of human rights as defined in the "Helsinki Accords" (1975), was arrested in the following years by the KGB, interrogated dozens of

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