JERUSALEM -- Deeply concerned about increasing chaos in the former Soviet Union, Israel has been building an infrastructure throughout the new republics that could airlift hundreds of thousands of Jews in an operation reminiscent of those launched in recent years to save Ethiopian Jews.
Simcha Dinitz, director of the Jewish Agency, said yesterday that although he would not make the details public, contingency plans had been accelerated since the failed coup in August.
"No one can guarantee that there will not be another coup or civil war," Mr. Dinitz said in a telephone interview. "Whenever there is disintegration, minorities are in jeopardy. We are very concerned about the Jews, especially in outlying areas. There are 200,000 Jews in the Muslim republics, for example.