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Soviet Jewish Immigrants Balk at New Homes

A planeload of Jews from Soviet Georgia that landed at Lydda Airport last night also brought a load of trouble for Absorption Ministry officials whose job it is to dispatch the immigrants to their new homes. The new arrivals demanded quarters in Lydda or Jerusalem and adamantly refused to accept flats in Beersheba or Dimona in the Negev. Ministry officials had no alternative accommodations to offer and many of the newcomers staged a sit-down in the airport terminal which lasted several hours. They finally departed with relatives but said they would visit the Absorption Ministry’s regional office in a few days to demand housing in towns where they have friends among fellow-Georgian Jews.

Ministry officials claim that the Georgian Jews are being briefed in advance by relatives already in Israel to insist on housing only in certain areas and to refuse all other offers. According to one official. Georgian Jews employed as porters at the Lydda terminal are passing notes to the newcomers containing the names of places where they should insist on being housed. The emigration of Jews from Soviet Georgian has reportedly increased ten-fold since last August. The Georgian Jews are for the most part semi-skilled workers and petty tradesmen,

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