Louis Report Evokes Tempered Response from Soviet Jewry Group

The National Conference on Soviet Jewry said today that reports that the Soviet Union will not implement the head tax law “reflects the importance of public action on behalf of Soviet Jews.” Richard Maass, NCSJ chairman, commented: “We are encouraged by this latest announcement and believe that this is a positive step and, of course, a welcome one. But we must wait and see whether in fact the non-application of the tax will be applied to all Soviet Jews and is not meant as a quick appeasement to mounting pressure which the Soviet Union can again reinstate.”

Maass added: “However, the basic emigration problems have not altered and the situation remains the same as it was prior to August 16″ when the head tax law was promulgated. “The more fundamental problem of the denial of the basic human right to emigrate without arbitrary restrictions or procedures, and to practice one’s religious beliefs freely and without harassment” was not dealt with in the report by Victor Louis, Maass noted.

Israel lags behind the West in the number of university graduates entering the job market each year despite the fact that it has six major institutions of higher learning serving a population of barely three million. Aryeh Gurel, director general of the Labor Ministry told the Knesset Finance Committee yesterday that Israel must gear its economy to absorb more college graduates. He said that 13.6 percent of the American labor force is comprised of college graduates and predicted that only nine percent of Israel’s labor force will be made up of graduates five years from now.

Israel’s growing self-sufficiency in arms production was reflected-in a report today released in Tel Aviv that 54% of the national expenditure for defense is earmarked for the acquisition and development of weapons in Israel. The defense budget has been set at II, 6.4 billion of which 60% is in Israel pounds for arms purchases at home.

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