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Soviets arrest Hebrew teacher

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MOSCOW -- A researcher who gave unauthorized Hebrew language classes has been arrested in Odessa and sentenced to a 2-week jail term on an unknown charge, Jewish sources said Friday.

They said Mikhail Kholmyanski, 44, whose application to emigrate was refused six years ago, was taken into custody at a friends house in the southern port city, where the Moscow resident had gone to spend the May Day holiday weekend.

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The arresting officers said his papers were not in order, since he and his wife had not registered to remain for a long period, as required for travellers staying longer than three days.

A number of Hebrew-language textbooks were seized from the friends' apartment and Kholmyanski, who taught the language, was taken away, the sources said.

They said the arrest may reflect an impending crackdown on instruction of Hebrew, which it has tolerated only in recent years among Soviet Jews waiting to emigrate.

Unlike many would-be emigres, who lose their jobs after applying to leave the country, Kholmyanski was still employed as a researcher at a higher education institute in the capital.

Some 50,000 Jewish families have applied to emigrate from the U.S.S.R., but the rate of permissions granted has dropped from more than 50,000 in 1979 to 2,000 last year.

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