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E. GERMANY MAY RESCIND INVITATION TO JEWS

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Three months ago, East Germany's new democratic government invited Jews worldwide to return to the land where they once faced Nazi persecution.

Since then, hundreds of Soviet Jews who say they are facing a resurgence of anti-Semitism at home have taken the government up on its offer and are seeking sanctuary on German soil.Now, the government says Soviet Jews may not qualify for refugee status under the immigration laws East Germany is likely to enact as it merges with West Germany.

"We are no longer a state that can decide its own affairs," said Gabriela Lubanda, an official in the foreigner affairs office of Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere.

The situation has caused some soul-searching in East Germany, which has had to close its doors to foreigners from some countries and changed its relationships with others as it realigns its loyalties and laws to mesh with West Germany's.

The government, sensitive to the historical burden of the Holocaust, has avoided any decision on the Soviet Jews who have been entering the country on tourist visas and declaring their intention to stay permanently.

More than 300 Soviet Jews have arrived in the country, most of them at the invitation of the small East German Jewish community in East Germany, said community spokeswoman Irene Runge.