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Argentine Rabbi Says Problem is Assimilation, Not Anti-semitism; Rules out Mass Emigration

The main problem of Argentine Jewry is assimilation and not anti-Semitism as many Israelis believe, Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer, rector of the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano in Buenos Aires told Israel Radio yesterday.

Meyer, here for the eleventh biennial convention of the World Council of Synagogues, conceded there is anti-Semitism in Argentina but said it was hardly the main problem facing Argentine Jewry. Only 28,000 of the 300,000 Jews living in Argentina visited synagogues last Yom Kippur, an indication of the status of religion among Argentine’s Jew, he said.

Meyer praised the excellent relations between the present regime and the Jewish community “If anybody in Israel believes the Jews in Argentina are on the eve of a pogrom, he is very wrong,” Meyer said. He thus ruled out the possibility of mass emigration from Argentina. “Argentina’s Jews will not emigrate in case of trouble,” he said. “I don’t believe in aliya without heart.”

Rabbi Angel Kreiman-Brill of Santiago, who spoke on the same program, also did not believe in “panic” emigration. In fact, he stated, many of the Jews who had left Chile five years ago under Allende’s regime, have returned, among them many who emigrated to Israel.