Israeli officials said today that they had seen no sign of progress in efforts to organize an airlift of Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel.
The officials said they were aware that Edgar Bronfman, the head of the World Jewish Congress, has had talks with Soviet authorities since he delivered a letter from Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during a much-publicized trip to Moscow in September.
But they said there was no evidence to suggest that subsequent trips by Bronfman earlier this month to Moscow and Warsaw had led to any plans to airlift Soviet Jews to Israel through the Polish capital.
The rate of Soviet Jewish emigration remains at about 130 a month, they noted, and the Soviet policy restricting exit visas to limited cases of "family reunion" appears unchanged.
The Israeli officials denied that Bronfman was acting as an intermediary between Israel and the Soviet Union, which do not have diplomatic relations.
"As we said in September, he [Bronfman] brought a letter from Peres to Gorbachev, but I don't think he is acting as a conduit for us," a senior Israeli official said tonight.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry official, noting that Israel and Poland have agreed in principle to establish interest sections in Warsaw and Tel Aviv, said, "There is nothing else on the agenda. We are still waiting for the green light on that from the Poles."
He said the Israeli government had no knowledge of discussions with any Eastern Bloc country to establish air links for Jews leaving the Soviet Union for Israel.
Time magazine has reported that the plan being discussed by Bronfman and Soviet authorities was to airlift thousands of Soviet Jews first to Poland and then to Israel, thus preventing them from emigrating directly to the United States or other western countries.
"We have no objection to such a plan, but we don't see any progress toward it," one Israeli official said.
In October, Peres said that an airlift of Soviet Jews was being proposed, and that France had offered to supply aircraft for that purpose if agreement could be reached with the Soviets.
There have also been unconfirmed reports here that if the Kremlin relaxes its emigration policy, Soviet Jews might pass through Bucharest, the capital of Romania, on their way to Israel.
Vienna has served for years as the staging point for Soviet Jews, but the Israeli government long has complained about the dropout rate of Jews who leave the Austrian capital for the United States instead of Israel.