Ben-gurion Predicts Russia Will Let Jews Migrate to Israel

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion is of the firm conviction that sooner or later the Soviet authorities will have to permit Jews to leave Russia to settle in Israel. He told members of the United Jewish Appeal study mission at a banquet here last night that he was sure the time would come, “next year or five years from now,” when the Soviet leaders would have to let the Jews go.

During the coming decade, Mr. Ben-Gurion said, two great tasks faced Israel–the arrival of two million Jews and the settlement of the entire Negev, the Southern Desert. He pointed out that four million Jews live today in two large areas–”a great country in Eastern Europe that I need not name, where three million live, and North Africa.” These Jews, he said, were “locked up” and forbidden to migrate to Israel.

Sooner or later, he said, seeing what was happening in the world, the Soviet leaders would have to let the Jews go. He predicted about half of them would want to go to Israel.

Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, executive vice-chairman of the UJA, expressed concern that only one of Israel’s two images was getting through to American Jewry–the image of a prosperous, successful country. He said the second image of an Israel of maabarot (immigrant camps) behind the shining housing projects, of grave security problems, of precariously balanced new housing projects, was not getting through to the American Jewish public, thus making the UJA work most difficult.

Rabbi Friedman urged the UJA and Israeli leaders to help place before the American Jewish public the full Israeli picture blending both images. Ogden R. Reid, the United States Ambassador, urged the members of the mission to send their friends to visit Israel.

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