JERUSALEM (Aug. 21)
Aryeh L. Pincus, chairman of the Jewish Agency, disclosed here today that he will confer with American Jewish leaders next week on extending the Israel Emergency Fund campaign for another year. Its third, since it was established in 1967 in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. Mr. Pincus said that the campaign may get a different name but its purpose will still be to relieve Israel of the financial burdens of immigrant absorption while the country is forced to spend over 20 percent of its gross national product for defense purposes.
Mr. Pincus, speaking at a press conference, said the division of functions between the Jewish Agency and the Israel Government’s new Absorption Ministry has not been finalized yet because it has to be coordinated with fund-raising agencies abroad. But he said it was clear that at least the initial absorption functions would remain within the province of the Jewish Agency. The latter, he said, would continue to be responsible for absorption centers and hostels where new immigrants go on arrival and for the ulpanim where immigrants are given intensive Hebrew language courses. Mr. Pincus said the Jewish Agency would also provide immigrants with those needs not granted to them by the State under existing laws. It would continue to aid immigrants who do not come from the so-called distress countries but who nevertheless may require assistance, as well as immigrants of previous years who have not yet been absorbed in the country’s economy, he said.
The Jewish Agency chairman reported a doubling of the immigration rate from Western countries this year compared to the average of the two previous years and a drop in the average age of the newcomers. He said that 70 percent of the immigrants from the United States this year were under 30 years of age and 14 percent were between 34 and 44. In contrast, most immigrants from America before last year were pensioners, he said. He forecast a total immigrant influx this year of between 25,000 and 30,000 compared to about 18,000 arrivals each in 1966 and 67. Mr. Pincus also said that emigrants who left Israel before 1964 would be granted the same rights as new immigrants if they returned.