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Western Aliya Dipping Pincus Cites Negative Views Toward Newcomers; Says Better Understanding Needed

Louis A.Pincus, chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, expressed concern today over the decline in immigration from Western countries. He said the rate of decline–about ten percent–was no more than last year but that the reasons behind the drop were cause for alarm. He attributed it in part to the negative attitude toward immigrants reflected by sections of the Israeli population and press. He said the facts must be brought home to Israelis that the costs of immigrant absorption are borne entirely by diaspora Jewry and that many Israeli individuals and institutions benefit directly from the contributions by the overseas fund-raising arms.

Pincus told newsmen that immigration generally was on the increase this year. He said 28,000 arrived between Jan.-June 1972 compared to 18,000 in the same period last year. He said a total of 60-65,000 for the full year was likely. He did not say what percentage of the total would be represented by emigres from the Soviet Union but indicated that Jewish immigration from the USSR has come up to expectations so far.

Except for South America, immigration from most Western countries showed a decline, he said. The drop from the US is about ten percent and from France six percent. According to Pincus, American immigrants feel neglected and unwanted here because of the large immigration from Russia which occupies everyone’s attention. In addition, he said, some Americans come to Israel to escape from a social system they do not like only to find the same system in Israel and are further aggravated because the system is run by Jews.

Pincus said prospective immigrants from France are mainly of North African origin. They have large families and they hear about the lack of suitable housing in Israel and receive reports of discrimination against North Africans and preferential treatment of Western emigres. He noted that 60 percent of all funds raised in the diaspora for Israel go toward bettering the social standards of Oriental Jews. He pointed out that, among other things, the Jewish Agency bears almost the entire operating costs of Israeli institutions of higher learning from which many Israelis as well as immigrants benefit.

The Jerusalem municipality issued yesterday a 30-day closure order against the “Eros” sex boutique, which has been the target of almost daily demonstrations during the two weeks it has been in operation. The official reason for the shutdown was operation without a proper license.

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