NEW YORK (Jun. 9)
Sucher Matrajt, president of the pro-Peron Organizacion Israelita Argentina, who is visiting the U.S. en route home to Buenos Aires following a three-week stay in Israel where he presented President Chaim Weizmann with a personal letter from President Juan Peron, declared in an interview today that 90 percent of the Jews of Argentina who opposed Peron prior to his election to the presidency now support him.
Mr. Matrajt said that the Peron regime has brought an end to anti-Semitism in Argentina which, he pointed out, was fostered to a large extent by the sizeable Arab population in the country. The O.I.A. president noted that 30,000 Jews were living in Argentina as “tourists” at the time of Peron’s rise to power. He emphasized that the government made it possible for all of these Jews, most of whom had drifted into the country from Central America, to legalize their status.
The Argentine leader said that the heroic battle put up last year by the Israelis against the invading Arab armies lad raised the prestige of the Jewish community in Argentina. Although he expressed doubt that any large numbers of Argentine Jews would seek to settle permanently in the Jewish state, Mr. Matrajt emphasized that the new state’s cultural influence was already beginning to be felt in the Argentine. He noted the growing interest in the study of Hebrew in Argentina as compared with the diminishing interest in Yiddish.
Describing his stay in Israel as “exhilarating,” Mr. Matrajt–who conferred with President Weizmann, Premier David Ben Gurion and other Israeli officials–voiced the belief that tourism would become a major industry in the new state and stressed the need for large-scale construction of modern hotels. He was received by the Pope during his 3tay in Rome and was also a guest at a meeting of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in London where he visited prior to coming to New York.