Welfare Ministry Launches Major Effort to Rehabilitate Underprivileged Youths

The Welfare Ministry and the municipality’s Welfare Dept. launched a major effort today to rehabilitate underprivileged youths in the slum areas of the city. The joint drive was spurred by the recent appearance in Jerusalem of self-styled “Black Panthers,” youths who have adopted the name and the style of the militant black American organization but are in no way connected with it, as far as the local authorities know. The “Panthers” have demonstrated against poverty and are encouraged and abetted by Matzpen, a tiny but vocal group of anti-Zionist Leftist extremists. The authorities believe the best way to suppress the incipient street movement is to win over the youngsters by improving their education and their living conditions.

School drop-outs in poverty areas will be organized into groups with the aim of returning them to their classes. Sixteen groups corresponding to 16 school districts will be organized with a social worker attached to each. Pupils in the 14-16 years age bracket will receive tutorial assistance and a free supper before being sent home. Cadres of social workers will also try to deal with older youths who belong to street gangs. Other measures to be taken by the government and municipal welfare authorities include the assignment of additional social workers and youth counsellors to help girls in distress. Family aides and household equipment will be supplied to about 100 large families who live on the poverty level. Wayward boys will be given incentives to take jobs and free lodging will be given some 30 young vagrants.

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