Menu JTA Search

Exit Fees Alter Character, but Not Volume of Emigration

A Jewish Agency official reported today that the Soviet visa head tax on educated Jews seeking to leave Russia has altered the character of immigration from that country but has not affected its volume. Yehuda Dominitz, deputy director of the Agency’s immigration department, said that 55,000 newcomers are expected in Israel by the end of this year, the highest number since 1963. He said the increase was due largely to the influx of Soviet Jews whose numbers are expected to be double last year’s.

Jewish Agency Treasurer Leon Dultzin told members of the United Jewish Appeal Study Mission in Tel Aviv last night that the Soviet visa fees affected no more than 20 percent of the potential emigrants, “We expect some 50,000 Russian Jews to come to Israel,” he said, adding that the absorption cost of each family would amount to about $35,000.

Dominitz said that a total of 41,000 immigrants arrived in Israel between Jan.-Sept. of this year. He said that if anything, the visa fees spurred the departure of Jews from the USSR. People not subjected to the fees for holders of academic degrees are advancing their departures for fear that if they delay, the fees might be extended to them, the official said.

Dominitz reported that immigration from North America has not picked up as was anticipated. The peak year was 1970 when 9472 immigrants arrived from North America. That figure has not been matched since, he said. The North American olim numbered 8122 last year and a similar number is expected this year, he said.

Dominitz said the biggest decline was from France. He said 5000 immigrants arrived from there in 1970, 3300 last year and barely 2500 are expected this year. Immigration from Asia and Africa has reached a new low–7000 last year and a probable 6000 this year, he said. But 5000 Jews are expected from South America this year compared to 4500 last year.

NEXT STORY