Preparing for Vietnam Refugees

The 100 Vietnamese refugees that Israel has decided to admit will arrive next week and will be taken initially to an absorption center in Afula, officials said today. Azriel Waldmann, director general of the Absorption Ministry, inspected the Afula center today to review preparations to receive them.

Israel’s Ambassador to the Philippines will select the 100 refugees out of more than 1000 stranded aboard a freighter in Manila Bay for the past Few weeks. He will be joined by an emissary of the Jewish Agency. It was not clear today what criteria will be used to make the selection.

Meanwhile, the Australian Ambassador to Israel, W.P.J. Handmer, took exception yesterday to reported remarks by certain Cabinet ministers that Australia was one of the countries that should “examine their consciences” in light of Israel’s decision to admit 100 refugees. Handmer said that Australia was in fact in the forefront of international efforts on behalf of the homeless Vietnamese. He said his country “will have taken in more than 20,000 of them by the middle of this year.”

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