Jewish Agency Refutes Charges of Bias Against North African Jews

The Jewish Agency produced facts and figures today to disprove allegations that Jewish immigrants from North Africa were subjected to official discrimination in housing and settlement.

Charges that such discrimination existed, and was a root cause of recent disturbances by North African immigrants in Haifa and other centers, had been aired followed the disorders.

Dov Joseph, treasurer of the Jewish Agency, told the press today that, while immigrants from North Africa constituted 21 percent of the total immigration, they constituted 25 percent of Israelis settled on the land–the more expensive form of absorption and resettlement. But while, on the average, 31 percent of the immigrants abandoned the agricultural settlements for one reason or another, the ratio of North Africans quitting the land was 34 percent.

The Jewish Agency leader charged that a large number of the North African immigrants now living under slum conditions in Haifa had given up homes in agricultural settlements, or had refused to occupy new housing developments because they objected to their location.

He noted that, when these houses, which the North Africans had rejected and which had remained vacant, were assigned to immigrants from Europe, the cry immediately went up that the newcomers were being given preference over the North African Jews.

As an example of the comparative difficulties in absorbing European and North African immigrants, Mr. Joseph pointed out that 82 percent of the bread-winners in the European immigrant families had some profession or trade. Among the North Africans, however, only four percent had such qualifications.

In a further refutation of bias charges, Mr. Joseph declared that 70 percent of all the children who had been cared for in institutions of the Youth Aliyah were the children of Oriental Jewish parents. Of the present population of the Youth Aliyah homes he said, 90 percent were of Oriental Jewish parentage.

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