Israel Government, Jewish Agency Will Study Coordination of Immigration, Absorption
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Israel Government, Jewish Agency Will Study Coordination of Immigration, Absorption

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A statement announcing that the Israel Government and the Jewish Agency have agreed immediately to examine means of coordinating their activities in the fields of immigration and absorption was released here tonight. The announcement said that the discussions would be conducted by a committee consisting of three Cabinet ministers and three members of the Jewish Agency Executive. But it did little to allay the fears of many delegates to the 27th World Zionist Congress that the Government was about to divest the Jewish Agency of its responsibility for immigrant absorption.

Those fears were aroused when the Cabinet announced Sunday night that it had decided to establish a Ministry of Absorption without stipulating, as had been expected, that the new Ministry’s function would apply only to later or permanent absorption. The Jewish Agency has insisted that it retain control over absorption in its initial stages.

This evening’s statement was regarded by many as noncommittal and still leaving the whole issue up in the air. Delegates active in fund-raising for Israel abroad argued that the elimination of the Jewish Agency from an absorption role would weaken the basis of their campaign appeals and slogans and that it would be difficult to find a legal means to transmit philanthropic funds for the assistance to immigrants to the Israel Government. This point of view was fully supported by the Jewish Agency chairman, Arch L. Pincus, who stated this morning that the Jewish Agency must continue to handle the initial absorption processes with the Government taking over only after the new immigrant has overcome the first difficulties. Such a stipulation had been expected in this evening’s statement.


The Cabinet announcement yesterday that a Ministry of Absorption would soon be added to the Israel Government has stirred speculation about who will get the new portfolio, provided the Cabinet decides to establish one, something it has not yet done. A front runner in the speculation over the possible new Cabinet post is Labor Minister Yigal Allon. Should Gen. Allon, the 1948 Haganah commander, switch jobs, it is believed that former Rafi Party leader Yosef Almogi would become Minister of Labor. There was no comment from Mr. Almogi this morning other than to say that no one had approached him on the subject. It was reported previously that Mr. Almogi was slated to become secretary-general of Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation, after the next general elections in which incumbent Aharon Becker may not be a candidate.

The Cabinet, however, may not create a full Minister for the absorption post, but establish the title of deputy minister of absorption. In that case, according to some sources, the post would go to Arie Eliav, a member of the Knesset (Parliament) who was formerly deputy minister of trade and industry. Others said today that Mr. Eliav would become deputy minister of absorption even if a full minister were appointed.

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