Israel Absorbed Two-thirds of Immigrants, Jewish Agency Official Reports on Return to U.S.

A report that “Israel has managed to absorb into fairly normal life two-thirds of the unprecedented and in a large measure unexpected tide of immigration” was given here today at a press conference by Gottlieb Hammer, executive director of the American section of the Jewish Agency, who has just returned from a three-week visit to Israel.

Mr. Hammer said this “absorption was made possible by virtually Herculean efforts in the direction of housing construction, education and social welfare work.” Disclosing that the Agency “spent nearly $10,000,000 in reconstructing 40,000 housing units in the abandoned Arab sections of Israel cities,” he stated that the Agency “either directly or in partnership with the Government of Israel or other public bodies, has been instrumental in creating 30,709 housing units this year–sufficient to house 90,000 immigrants.”

Asserting that the present “economic crisis” in Israel can “be described in the simplest of terms,” he said: “At the beginning of 1949 a certain number of immigrants were expected to arrive in Israel during the forthcoming year. At the time, budgets were made up on the basis of the expected immigration as balanced against the expected income of the United Jewish Appeals throughout the world and particularly in the U.S.”

He continued: “The results in both cases were off somewhat–more immigrants arrived than expected, and the collections of the United Jewish Appeals were leas than expected. The ‘crisis’ is not insoluble. It is a ‘crisis’ which has been caused by an enormous importation of the most valuable commodity in the world–human beings. These human beings, who today have caused a ‘crisis,’ will be tomorrow the most cherished and constructive element of Israel’s growing and dynamic economy.”

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