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New Government Order in Argentina Threatens Jewish Economic Life

An order which may have serious effects on Jewish economic life and on the existence of the highly developed Jewish school system in Argentina was issued by the newly established government of President Ongania. It empowers the Argentine Central Bank, highest official financial authority, to exercise control over all credit cooperatives and, in certain circumstances, even to close them.

Although the credit cooperatives and their parallel banking system are being used also by non-Jewish business enterprises, they are a major factor in Jewish commercial life. The measure against them was already prepared last November under the Illia Government which was ousted about ten days ago by General Ongania, but it was not put into operation because of the strong opposition against it by numerous economic groups.

The credit cooperative movement is divided mainly in two groups: One is the Instituto Movilizador, rumored to be communist-infiltrated, whose several officials had been arrested a few days ago but were since released. The other is Ente Economico de la Federacion de Cooperatives, which is composed mainly of Jewish non-leftist elements. The latter, besides constituting the financial basis for small Jewish middle class business enterprises, also provides financial support to the Jewish schools here which are among the best Jewish schools in the world.

While the precise effect of the order on the Jewish businesses was difficult to estimate until normal business operations are resumed tomorrow, it was widely feared today that the move would create irreparable problems. The wide publicity given the measure over the radio and in the press alarmed many of the clients of the cooperatives who could completely break the cooperative system if an extensive run of withdrawals develops.

CHIEF OF POLICE PAYS CORDIAL VISIT TO JEWISH INSTITUTION

Yesterday, Federal Police Chief General Mario A. Fonseca visited the Jewish Old Age Club here. He was received by Mrs. Elisa Kohan, president of the Institution and Samuel Glaserman, vice president of the Buenos Aires Kehilla, the city’s official Jewish community organization. This was the first instance of a senior official of the new regime visiting a Jewish institution.

In a special statement issued yesterday on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Argentine independence from Spain, the DAIA, the central representative body of Argentine Jewry, said that the Argentine Jewish community, “an inseparable part of the nation, associates itself jubilantly with the celebrations” affirming its aspirations for a peaceful life “and its ideals of human solidarity which the Ninth of July symbolizes.” The statement declared:

“The 150th anniversary unifies in its fervor all citizens of the Republic without” distinction of origin, race or creed. The principles which guided the Fatherland’s birth always protected the essential dignity of the human condition, protecting it from individual mistreatment which, at the same time, would have undermined the nation’s unity.”

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