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Special to the JTA Argentinean Jew Says Military Junta Poses No Threats to Jews

The seizure of power by the military junta in Argentina will not have any special effect on the Jewish community, it was reported today by an Argentinean Jew who is close to the political scene in Buenos Aires. Because of the sensitivity of his position he asked not to be identified.

The Argentinean, who was interviewed here, said: “There are no indications that the junta will adopt any special policies toward the Jews. It will be no better and no worse for the Jews than for the general population. There is no doubt that there are anti-Semitic elements in the army and we must wait and see how much of a role they will be permitted to play. At the moment the military leaders are more concerned with stabilizing the economy and reestablishing political and economic morality as quickly as possible.”

EVERYONE WANTED THE COUP

Everyone knew that the coup was coming and everyone wanted it, he continued. “Economically the country was at a disaster point. Inflation was close to 400 percent for the year and there were no signs of it easing up. Corruption was widespread. The international balance of payments was soaring in Argentina’s disfavor and the country had virtually exhausted its credit. Almost any change would have been an improvement.”

There was a slight increase in emigration to Israel in the final months of President Isabel Peron’s regime, “Lower middle-class Jews, especially, found it almost impossible to survive,” he said. “The purchasing power of the peso evaporated faster than they could accumulate them. They lost hope for making a life for themselves and their children in Argentina and they left.”

Even at that, he continued, fewer than 1500 Jews left Argentina during 1975; there are about 450,000 Jews in the country. He believed the junta would end even that small movement. “Everyone expects the junta to stabilize conditions and fewer people will be leaving,” he said. “As for the future, I believe the Jewish community will remain in Argentina and it will prosper.”

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