JERUSALEM (Feb. 1)
A pledge by a Canadian Jew, once a colonel in the Soviet Army, to buy $1 million worth of Israel Bonds and an announcement by Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir that 4,600 Soviet Jewish emigres arrived in Israel during Jan. 1972, nearly double the number that arrived in Jan. 1971, today climaxed an extraordinary three-day conference of 150 leaders of the Israel Bond Organization from North and South America.
The $1 million pledge was made by Harry Zekelman of Windsor, Ont. who accompanied it with an appeal to Israel to send more rabbis, teachers and leaders to his country because otherwise “there will be no Jews left in the small communities of North America in 20, perhaps even in 10 years’ time.”
The conference of Israel Bond leaders was convened by Premier Golda Meir to discuss Israel’s outstanding economic needs. The group arrived here Sunday and will leave tonight. During their three days of discussions with Israeli leaders they learned that the initial absorption of an immigrant in Israel costs an average of $9,000 for his personal needs alone. Long term absorption, which includes providing the newcomer with a job, costs as much as $35,000.
Asked how long it took to complete the absorption process, Sapir said that some types of immigrants, such as doctors or engineers “bring their absorption with them in their briefcase.” All they need is suitable housing, he said. But in other cases, where persons from underdeveloped countries are concerned, it may take a whole generation until their offspring have found a productive place in the country’s economy.