Israel Opens Gates to Czechs; Allon Explains New Immigration Functions

Israel’s gates, which have always been open to Jewish refugees will be opened wider to admit refugees from Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, It was announced here today. Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon, who heads the new Ministry of Absorption, said that mixed couples and families from Czechoslovakia who wish to settle in Israel would be granted the same rights and privileges accorded all new immigrants. Maj. Gen. Uzzi Narkiss, director general of the Jewish Agency’s immigration and absorption department, announced that some 50 Czech students who were in Israel at the time of the Russian take-over have been admitted to an Ulpan for Hebrew studies in Haifa and will be permitted to continue their education in Israel. He said that other “special arrangements” had been made for the Czechs but did not give details.

Gen. Allon, at his first press conference as Minister of Absorption, outlined the division of functions between the new Ministry and the Jewish Agency, which previously had full responsibility for immigrant absorption. He stressed that policies in this area will be laid down jointly by a coordinating body made up of Cabinet members and members of the Jewish Agency Executive. He also noted that as Deputy Prime Minister he has the authority to ask any Government department to coordinate its activities with his directives. The new Ministry began functioning today.

Gen. Allon said that much of the absorption and economic integration of new immigrants will be left in the hands of the Jewish Agency. The three main functions of his ministry will be the promotion of absorption possibilities, actual absorption when the processes are not dealt with by other departments or bodies, and the coordination of absorption functions by Government and Jewish Agency bodies. He said that his ministry will also be responsible for the 6,000 students and youths now in Israel.

The absorption processes will be streamlined by housing all pertinent bureaus and offices under a single roof. Gen. Allon said. The ministry and Jewish Agency departments will be subdivided by geographical origin of the immigrants and by professions or skills. The investment Authority will also have offices under the same roof to deal with people who have brought capital with them, and the same building will house the labor exchanges which place immigrants in professions or jobs. All ports of entry by sea and air will be staffed jointly by Ministry and Jewish Agency personnel, he said, but the promotion of immigration abroad will remain the sole function of the Jewish Agency. The latter will continue its education for aliyah (immigration) and will pay immigrants’ fares to Israel when necessary.

Gen. Allon said that Israel’s immigration laws apply equally to wealthy and to poor newcomers alike. Fund-raising organs abroad, he said, will continue to have a say in how the monies are spent. The joint Government-Jewish Agency coordinating body will be headed by Gen. Allon and Aryeh L. Pincus, chairman of the Jewish Agency, who will serve as its co-chairmen. The body will have a directorate composed of Gen. Allon; his deputy minister Arye Aliav, and Maj. Gen. Yosef Geva, director-general of the Absorption Ministry, all representing the Government; and Mr. Pincus, his deputy Rabbi Mordechai Kirshblum, and Maj. Gen. Uzzi Narkiss, all representing the Jewish Agency. Gen. Allon announced that he is going abroad Thursday to visit several countries including the United States, Great Britain, Denmark and Austria.

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