Tuesday, November 9, 1999
Russian ads offer visas for cashBy Dalia Shehori
Numerous advertisements have been appearing in Israel's Russian-language newspapers promising to arrange, among other things, entry and work permits in Israel, Israeli citizenship by right of the Law of Return for Jews and non-Jews, immigrant permits and identification papers and generous absorption subsidy packages "for a family of four" in exchange for thousands of shekels.
The ads, which generally offer only a telephone number and no address, are formulated in such a way as to make it difficult to determine whether they are legitimate.
In reaction to such ads, Interior Minister Natan Sharansky yesterday turned to Public Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami with the request that Ben-Ami order a comprehensive investigation of the matter in order to determine who is behind the advertisements, as well as their legality. In his request, Sharansky wrote that such arrangements in exchange for cash payments arouses his suspicion of their legitimacy.
The newspapers in which the ads appear generally differentiate between their news and advertising content, claiming that they are not responsible for the latter. The editor of Vesti, Edward Kuznietzov, said yesterday that he bears no responsibility for the content of the advertisements in his newspaper. The paper's manager was unavailable for comment.
Efraim Ginur, the chief editor of the Novosti newspaper chain, said he was unaware of such advertisements until he learned about Sharansky's appeal to Ben-Ami yesterday evening. He added that there was no connection between the newspaper's newsroom and its business department.
Yevgenya Kravchik, a journalist for Vesti, said
yesterday that since the beginning of the large
wave of Soviet immigration, "endless"
advertisements have appeared in the Russian press
offering new immigrants impossibly attractive
offers and empty promises in exchange for money.
According to Kravchik, the phenomenon is so
widespread that she herself looks into it when
readers complain to the newspaper about damages
suffered after responding to the ads.
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