Jewish Agency Refugees Charges of Discrimination Against Yemenite Immigrants in Israel

Charges that Yemenite Jews in Israel “are systemically being reduced to the status of second-rate citizens” and are not being properly sheltered and fed by the Jewish Agency were refuted today by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the American section of the Jewish Agency for Palestine.

The charges were made by Zacharia Gluska, Yemenite member of the Israel Parliament who is now in this country conducting a separate campaign on behalf of the Yemenite immigrants in Israel against the wishes of the Jewish Agency. In a letter to the New York Herald Tribune, published today, Mr. Gluska said that of the 45,000 immigrants from Yemen who arrived in Israel in the past two years 25,000 are still in camps there.

In refuting Mr. Gluska’s charges, Dr. Goldmann said that Mr. Gluska was refused authorization by the Jewish Agency to conduct a separate campaign in the United States because “neither the Jewish Agency nor the Joint Distribution Committee nor any other Jewish philanthropic organization in this country or in Israel was discriminating against any immigrant group.”

Dr. Goldmann pointed out that Mr. Gluska was told that the Jewish Agency was fully cognizant of the fact that the Yemenite immigrants were not being cared for as they should be; that clothing, food, shelter and permanent homes for them were insufficient to meet all needs. “But,” Dr. Goldmann added, “he was also reminded that identical hardships were faced by all groups of immigrants entering Israel from all over the world, and that the answer to the difficulties faced by the Yemenites was the same as that faced by the other groups; to wit, more dollars to hasten their absorption into the permanent economy of the country.”

Dr. Goldmann explained that if Mr. Gluska were to be granted authorization by the Jewish Agency to conduct his campaign, it would be impossible for the Agency or for anyone else to deny similar rights to the Bulgarians, Rumanians, Poles, Turks, Iraqis and Jews from other countries who have reached Israel in the last few years. He pointed out that the Joint Distribution Committee has spent $3,000,000 on transporting the Yemenite Jews by plane from Aden to Israel and that the Jewish Agency spent approximately $8,000,000 in housing the immigrants in camps, feeding and clothing them and helping to finance their permanent settlement.

“The sums which Mr. Gluska has so far collected in this country are hardly sufficient to have settled a dozen people in Israel,” Dr. Goldmann emphasized. He said that the Jewish Agency has given the Yemenite Jews actual priority over other immigrants in several directions. They are given priority in housing and their camp rations are in general 30 percent higher than those of any other group, he revealed. At the same time, he announced that Rep. Emanuel Celler resigned today from the National Board of the American Committee for the Relief of Yemenite Jews, charging its spokesman, Mr. Gluska, with having made misleading statements in the course of his campaign for funds in the U.S.

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