Israel’s Immigration Program Reported Facing ‘most Crucial Test’

“The immigration and rehabilitation program of the Jewish Agency for Israel, is facing its most crucial test in a decade,” it was reported here today by Dr. Isador Lubin, noted American economist and consultant to the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc., and Aryeh L. Pincus, treasurer of the Jewish Agency, Jerusalem.

Mr. Pincus came to New York for consultation with UJA leaders on problems of financing the resettlement of an increasing number of immigrants. Dr. Lubin just returned from a survey trip to Israel. Both submitted their reports to a meeting of the board of directors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc. at the Agency’s headquarters here.

Among the factors which precipitate the current critical situation, they noted the continued increase in the tempo of immigration, the shortage of housing for new arrivals and the age composition, family size and health status of the immigrants.

“At the same time that Israel is trying to put its economy on a sound and more competitive basis, this rising tide of immigration is creating new inflationary pressures and new strains on the country’s economic resources,” Dr. Lubin noted. He explained that this apparent contradiction between Israel’s economic policy and its immigration policies could be explained only by the young nation’s determination to give priority to the rescue of Jewish lives.

“This is not a one-time crisis that will resolve itself by the end of the fiscal year,” Mr. Pincus declared. “From what we know about conditions in a number of countries from where Jewish communities are on the move, it appears that we are in for a hard, long and steady pull which may extend over the next three or four years. Though what we face is by any definition an emergency, we cannot approach it with the traditional emergency campaign psychology. We must get set for a sustained top level effort for a long time to come. “

Mr. Pincus added that he sometimes felt that American Jewry has come to take the great epic of mass immigration for granted. “Some people seem to think that because we have done a truly incredible job of absorption in the past, we in Israel will always manage somehow regardless of what help we receive from world Jewry,” Mr. Pincus stated.

“Unfortunately, this confidence in our ability to perform miracles is not warranted. The impossible we ask only of ourselves. But the possible, to its utmost and sacrificial limits, we must also ask from American Jewry. These immigrants who must leave their countries of residence for no other reason than for their being Jews are the responsibility of world Jewry as much as they are that of Israel, ” the Jewish Agency treasurer said.

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