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U.J.A. Leader Reports on Israel’s Grappling with Immigrant Absorption

Back from a six-week visit to Israel, Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, executive vice chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, today reported that Israel’s people are grappling with an immigrant absorption crisis “far beyond their own capacities to solve” and called on American Jews for a “dynamic effort” to meet this top priority humanitarian responsibility.

“With new immigration continuing in an unbroken stream,” Rabbi Friedman stressed, “the ‘old’ immigration of 1955-58 still requires vast sums for its full absorption. Thus, Israel’s people are now faced with tremendous unsolved problems in housing, education and employment. The solution of these problems demands from both the people of Israel and the Jews of America as dynamic an effort as they produced at more dangerous moments in Israel’s history.”

The UJA leader pointed out that despite the dramatic expansion of housing construction in recent years, more than 100,000 people were still living in the huts and wooden shacks of temporary settlements and in other sub-standard housing. “Israel’s people are determined to eliminate this problem and 25,000 housing units must be constructed to reach this goal,” he said, disclosing that the first 7,000 units were recently commissioned as the initial step towards this end. “Another urgent need is to help scores of immigrant farm settlements which are struggling toward economic viability but which still are short of needed equipment, livestock and irrigation facilities,” he declared.

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