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French Agency Official Reports Increased Need Among North African Refugees

In the wake of the Arab-Israeli six-day war, nearly 5,000 new Jewish immigrants to France from North Africa have applied for welfare assistance, a delegation from the United Jewish Appeal women’s division was told this weekend.

Samuel Castron, director of the Marseilles branch of the Fonds Social Juif, told the 23-member group that his organization has received requests for help, in recent weeks, from 1,500 families, or nearly 5,000 persons. He noted that the Jewish population of Marseilles alone has grown from 12,000 to an estimated 65,000 since 1957, putting an “enormous burden” on French Jewish relief agencies, schools, youth centers, children’s homes, old-age homes and the ORT vocational training system.

Mr. Castron said the economic picture in France today is “not bright,” and that French employers require a much higher level of skill than the new Jewish immigrants needed in the North African countries of their origin. The immediate demands of the situation, he stressed, were “just the tip of the iceberg.”

The UJA delegation, headed by Mrs. Henry Jones of Detroit, has left Marseilles for Iran, after a three-day study mission in France. In Iran, the group will visit welfare, medical and educational services supported by the Joint Distribution Committee which benefit one out of every four of the country’s 80,000 Jews.

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