JERUSALEM (Aug. 30)
Premier Levi Eshkol made an urgent appeal to Western Jews today “to provide the human material necessary for the consolidation of Jewish existence for which Israel serves as the cornerstone and firm foundation.” He made his appeal to a meeting attended by more than 100 representatives of Jewish communities in 47 countries, who had come to Israel to take part in the inauguration today of the new building of Israel’s Parliament. He stressed that, “in the hands of Western Jews likes the key to such vital problems as Israel’s progress and development, and the answer to a multitude of cultural, social, economic, political and security challenges.”
He said that, since Israel’s creation, only about 4,000 Western Jews had immigrated annually to Israel, “a figure which causes concern.” He declared this was not “the rate of immigration we stand to need for the present and future, when the fountains of immigration of countries from which most of Israel’s immigrants came dry up.”
The Premier said he understood that “the pangs of aliyah and absorption were not easy for people who leave behind conditions of affluence and comfort” and he pledged his Government would do its utmost to facilitate the process for Western newcomers.
Aryeh Pincus, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, told the visiting Jewish leaders that there was a growing tendency toward withdrawal from Judaism, due mainly to the lack of a strong Jewish educational force. He cited the situation in the United States as an example, declaring that only a small minority of Jewish children receive some Jewish education there. He warned that, for many years, Israel will not be able to supply other Jewish communities with the teachers they need. He also declared that world Jewry had a special duty and responsibility toward Soviet Jewry.