“We cannot places any controls on the rate of immigration” to Israel, Berl Locker, Jewish Agency executive chairman in Jerusalem who left today for the United States, told the United Jewish Appeal’s “emergency mission” prior to his departure today.
Mr. Locker added that no immigration controls could be imposed “because emigration is a matter of life or death for Jews in some countries.” Without mentioning the country of origin, Mr. Locker disclosed that 20,000 Jews came to Israel during the past six weeks from one country while another 20,000 are now en route to Israel from the same nation. He added that 500 Jews are now arriving daily in the Jewish state from this unnamed country, in addition to the “flow of newcomer from other areas.”
The Agency official told the U.J.A. communal leaders that the population of the immigrant reception centers has now reached 90,000. “We cannot regulate immigration,” he declared, “when fear of persecution drives them to our shores.” Mean while, Levi Eshkol, newly-elected Agency treasurer, indicated that the Agency must spend between $4,000,000-$4,500,000 monthly to maintain the 90,000 Jews now housed in reception camps. He estimated the cost of feeding and sheltering newly-arrived immigrants in Israel during the coming year at $50,000,000.
Describing this “urgent but unproductive expenditure,” Mr. Eshkol told the American Jewish leaders that if large sums were made available for resettling the immigrants on the land in large numbers, “the cost would be considerably less” for the long-range program of rehabilitation. Discussing the sudden, sharp increase in immigration, Zvi Herman, head of the Agency’s absorption department, predicted that the immigrant population in the reception camps would reach 100,000 in November and might even go as high as 120,000 by December, “unless some extraordinary housing is provided for them in the next few weeks.”
The U.J.A. mission was joined earlier today by Jack D. Wailer, U.J.A. chairman in the Greater New York area, who arrived here by air to participate in discussions with government and Agency leaders on the role which American financial aid must play in the future development of Israel.
Joseph Mazer, a member of the U.J.A. delegation, told the Jewish Telegraphic agency today that he was overwhelmed by Israel’s achievements and development. He said that upon his return to the U.S. he would advise every Jewish industrialist to invest capital in the new state. He revealed that he has already invested in Israel industry and plans to extend his investments shortly.
Moses A. Leavitt, executive vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, Monroe Goldwater, Moses Backelman, and Isidor Sobeloff, members of the J.D.C. delegation now in Israel, visited a number of Negev settlements today. The delegation also attended the tenth anniversary celebration of the founding of Kfar Warburg, named for the late Felix Warburg.