JOHANNESBURG (May. 26)
The South African political situation, relations with Israel and the coordination of fund-raising appeals will be the chief topics for discussion at the 17th biennial congress of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, central representative organization of the Jewish community here, which opens Saturday evening. Over 300 delegates, representing Jewish communities in all parts of the Union, are expected to attend the sessions, which will continue through Monday.
The report of the Board’s executive council, released today, comprehensively reviews the broad currents of the two-year period since the previous congress was held. Reviewing the political situation, it discusses the changing policy of the Nationalist Party on the Jewish issue, and welcomes the Prime Minister’s assurance–given to a deputation from the Board of Deputies after the last general election–of non-discrimination against any section of the European population in South Africa, while at the same time pointing out that the Transvaal section of the Nationalist Party has not yet withdrawn its clause banning Jews from membership.
Reviewing the actions of the government since the election, the report states: “In terms of the actual policy pursued by the government since the elections, we are Pleased to record that there is no evidence of discrimination practiced against the Jewish community in this country. Anti-Jewish references have been conspicuously absent from any official statements, whether in Parliament or the press. As far as naturalization is concerned, the figures published in the second half of l948 revealed that a substantial number of Jews were naturalized, and there seems to be no departure in this respect from the policy of the previous government.”
Touching on immigration the report says that this is still obscure. The Minister of Interior and others had affirmed that all applications would be treated on their merits, without any racial discrimination. “These statements,” says the report, “are satisfactory as far as they go. The plain fact, however, is that few Jewish aliens, apart from aged parents, have of late been admitted for permanent residence.”