In “Davar? (Hebrew), 13 November 1991
By Our Military Correspondent
An informant from the Israeli Postal Authority requesting to remain anonymous told us that Israeli government employees now quite frequently open private mail sent by new immigrants in Israel to their relatives remaining in the USSR. This blatant and illegal violation of the right to privacy in correspondence is being committed by about 200 postal employees who, however, are really on the payroll of another governmental agency, apparently operating under the authority of the Prime Minister’s Office . From among the letters addressed to the USSR some are picked at random, to be classified by criteria provided in the advance instructions. Those classificatory criteria include the address of the sender, (at the center of the country or in its periphery), his/her residential status (own apartment or an absorption center), and his/her extraction (from European Russia or from on of the Asiatic republics) . But attention is also paid to who both the sender and addressee are, and to the addressee’s whereabouts.
At this stage, so were we informed, the letters randomly selected are removed from the post offices and transferred to an unknown location. At that location they are translated, and then analyzed in respect to the sender’s mood, his/her financial condition, the family situation, opinions expressed about Israel, and the sender’s recommendations to the addressee regarding the prospect of emigration to Israel. After a summary report of such analyses is compiled, it is circulated, in strict secrecy, to about 30 key figures in [Israeli] government service responsible for various aspects of [Jewish] immigration from the USSR. Our informant adds that some letters, assessed as “very negative”, are not sent to their destinations. Such things do happen in most democratic countries.
Another informant who claims to have seen such a report, said: “This is absolutely appalling. Had I been told that the letters arriving from the USSR to Israel are being opened in order to ferret out potential spies, I would have accepted it, although reluctantly . But what is happening in this case is the heart of darkness. Like everybody else, I now suspect that my mail is also opened, that my telephone is being bugged. You may wonder about the model of democracy…”
2. “Bags Filled With Letters of New Immigrants from the 1950s which Were Opened and Inspected Are Being Still Held in Jerusalem?
Publ. by Davar (Hebrew), 14 November 1991
By Our Military Correspondent
[Israeli] sources in charge of immigration are expressing their doubt over whether any mail of new Soviet immigrants to their relatives in the USSR is indeed being opened by any government agency. However, the same sources are unable to explain how come that [Israeli] public could once learn, and senior government officials can now know, the contents of private letters saying that “the situation in Israel is not good.”
At the same time, a former senior government employee confirmed that letters are being opened routinely, and that some contents of the opened letters are being conveyed to the notice of officials responsible for the particular matter raised in them.