Jewish Agency Assembly to Ask Nixon’s Help for Syrian, Soviet Jews

The Jewish Agency’s General Assembly which convenes here next week, will call on President Nixon when he is in Israel Sunday to intervene directly on behalf of Russian and Syrian Jewry when he goes to Moscow for his third summit meeting with Soviet leaders June 27. The appeal to Nixon was announced today by Leon Dulzin, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, who declared that the Soviet government bears sole responsibility for the sharp decline in Jewish emigration from the USSR this year.

There were no fewer Jews wishing to leave the Soviet Union this year than last year, Dulzin said, but the Moscow government will not let them leave. He said that 135,000 Russian Jews have applied for exit visas but insisted that many more would leave if given the chance. “We are confident that hundreds of thousands of Jews would emigrate to Israel if they were only permitted,” Dulzin said. He reported that during the first five months of 1974, only 8507 Jews arrived in Israel from Russia compared to 12,481 during the same period last year. According to Dulzin, only about four percent of Jews who get out of Russia go to countries other than Israel.

Dulzin admitted that overall immigration has declined by 30 percent so far this year. While aliya from the USSR depends entirely on the Soviet government, immigration from Western countries is held down by other factors–chiefly the security situation and absorption problems of which the shortage of housing is the most urgent, Dulzin said. Total immigration between Jan.-May, 1974 was down to 14,300 from 20,480 in the same period last year, he reported.

He said the security situation has eased but the housing shortage remains. “We have the money, but we don’t have the facilities,” Dulzin said, noting that the Jewish Agency is short some 10,000 housing units for immigrants already in the country. In the next few weeks, Jewish Agency leaders will meet with the new Cabinet to iron out differences with the Ministry of Absorption, he said. Responsibility for building immigrant housing is expected to be shifted from the Ministry to the Jewish Agency.

Dulzin said the Jewish Agency’s Assembly will be asked to approve a $710 million budget. He said the world-wide fund-raising target, of the United Jewish Appeal and Keren Hayesod is $1.25 billion the same as last year. Dulzin said that some 50,000 volunteers throughout the world were busy collecting the money. More than half of them are young people “and to some extent they do a better job than the older generation,” he said. He said the UJA and KH have collected IL 1 billion since the Oct. war. (By Gil Sedan)

NEXT STORY