TEL AVIV (Aug. 30)
The decline of the U.S. dollar and spiraling inflation all over the world has increased the cost of absorbing Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union, the Jewish Agency’s acting chairman and treasurer Leon Dulzin told 250 top American Jewish community leaders participating in the “Prime Minister’s Mission” in Israel today.
Dulzin said it now costs $12,000 to absorb a single new immigrant from the USSR compared to $10,000 last year. He predicted that the Jewish Agency’s budget, which amounted to $470 million in 1973, would have to be increased by 25-30 percent in 1974 to meet the inflationary trend.
Moshe Rivlin, director general of the Jewish Agency, disclosed that 33,000 Soviet Jews arrived in Israel during the past 12 months. He said that if they continue to come at the present rate, by next year 100,000 Soviet Jews will have arrived in Israel since mass emigration began in 1968.
According to Rivlin, about 6000 new visa applications are lodged with Soviet authorities by Jews every month. About 100,000 Jews are waiting for visa applications to be approved, he said. Rivlin estimated that 30 percent of the immigrants from Russia come from Soviet Georgia where exit visas are more readily obtainable.
CAN ABSORB ALL SOVIET JEWS WHO ARRIVE
Dulzin, who is acting chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Executive since the death of Louis A. Pincus a month ago said he was optimistic that Israel would be able to absorb all Soviet Jews who want to come here even though the financial burden is a heavy one. “We cannot fail these Jews. We have to absorb them properly,” he said. On the other hand, he pointed out to the UJA leaders, Israel cannot continue with immigration without solving the problem of poverty in the settled population.
Dulzin said there were still 55,000 families–about 300,000 persons–who live in slum conditions, four or five or more to a room. These people came a generation ago and their children have served in the army and defended the country and Israel must lift them out of poverty, he said.
The UJA group saw the arrival of a group of Russian Jews at Lod Airport this morning. Yesterday they visited Kiryat Gat and Ashdod, immigrant absorption centers and the Niztanim Youth Aliya village where they were briefed on youth aliya activities.