NEW YORK (Mar. 13)
Israel will admit in the next ten months a total of 100,000 Jewish refugees from behind the Iron Curtain, Egypt and North Africa, the largest wave of immigration in any single year since 1949. Dr. Dov Joseph, the newly appointed treasurer of the Jewish Agency. announced at a press conference today. He said that the transfer and absorption of these refugees would cost a total of $300,000,000 half of which will be spent in the next ten months. The remainder will be spent in the succeeding year or two.
Breaking down the influx of immigrants by areas of origin, Dr. Joseph said that 5,000 a month were expected from East European countries, 1,500 monthly from Egypt and 1,000 monthly from North Africa. This brings the total to 90,000 this year. Another 10,000 are expected from diverse danger areas from which Jews seek to depart for Israel. Dr. Joseph came to this country to consult with American Jewish leadership on the implementation of this rescue program. He will consult especially with the leaders of the United Jewish Appeal, from which the Agency derives the bulk of its funds.
“Israel has long looked forward to the day when Jews under Communist rule would be permitted to emigrate,” Dr. Joseph said. “Now that this prospect has presented itself as a reality, there is great gratification in Israel. The opportunity has come, however, at a time when the country is preoccupied, as never before with security problems that drain its treasury and strain its economy. Nonetheless, Israel is determined not to miss this historic opportunity to redeem tens of thousands of Jews who seemed lost forever to the Jewish people because of the Iron Curtain between Jews under Communist rule and their brethren in the free world.
“These immigrants from behind the Iron Curtain,” he continued, “are generally skilled artisans, professionals, technicians, men with executive ability whose talents are of great and immediate value for the State of Israel and who begin strengthening the country’s economy immediately on their arrival.”