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U.S. Immigrants Protest to Jewish Agency on Rent Hikes

Representatives of 1000 immigrant families from the United States demonstrated outside the convention hall where the Jewish Agency Assembly was in progress today to protest rent increases which , they said, violated promises made to them before they came to Israel. All of the families immigrated during the past five years.

The protesters won immediate support from Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the American Section of the World Zionist Organization, who is one of the 300 delegates attending the Assembly. Moshe Rivlin, director general of the Jewish Agency, left the Assembly hall to speak to the demonstrators. He promised them that the Jewish Agency and government ministries concerned with housing and absorption would try to find a solution to their problem in cooperation with the American Zionist Federation.

The immigrants said that before they came to Israel, Jewish Agency emissaries promised them that their sent would be established for a 12-year period with increases every third year at a fixed rate. However, the housing authorities are now demanding an upward revision of the rent scale which the tenants say is a burden they cannot bear.

A spokesmen for the demonstrators said they were told by government officials that the original promise had been based on a miscalculation that has cost the government IL 42 million to date. The government is trying to divide the increase between the Housing Ministry, the building contractors and the tenants. But the immigrants say that the miscalculation was not their responsibility and that they are not about to pay for it.

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