Immigrant Housing Problems ‘solved’ Sapir Says, but Aliya is Down

Pinhas Sapir, chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, will come to the Agency’s General Assembly here next week hopeful about the prospects for United Jewish Appeal revenues and satisfied with the housing situation for immigrants in Israel. At a press conference today, Sapir said that despite gloomy press reports, UJA revenues this year would increase to $300 million compared to $222 million last year. The UJA collected about $120 million during the first five months of 1975, Sapir reported.

He said he expected this month to be “important” for the UJA because of several gatherings scheduled to take place in Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and New York at which Foreign Minister Yigal Allon is due to participate. Sapir predicted that the Keren Hayesod, which raises funds outside of the United States, would increase its revenues by 25 percent.

SMALL HOPE FOR NEW ALIYA WAVE

Sapir said that for the first time in years he could announce that the “immigrants’ housing problems have been solved.” He said most immigrants find suitable flats within a relatively short period of their arrival. Some 6000 families still live in rented quarters but will move to permanent housing within the next two years. Sapir said. The Jewish Agency leader conceded that the easing of the housing problem was attributable in part to the decrease in immigration. He said he was much less hopeful of prospects for a renewed wave of aliya. Immigration from the Soviet Union has dropped by 60 percent he said, and fewer than the 16,000 who arrived last year can be expected this year. He said part of the reason for the decline was internal pressure, Some 100,000 Russian Jews are still waiting for their exit visas and the Russians say there are no candidates for emigration, Sapir said.

Sapir said there were hardly any Jews left in Arab countries. World Jewry is continuing to make every effort to improve the lot of Syrian Jews “and is doing everything possible,” he said. He said the small Jewish communities in Tunisia and Morocco were relatively well off and show no signs of intending to leave.

NEXT STORY