NEW YORK (Jan. 25)
The acute housing shortage and the problem of unemployment in Israel, particularly among the young, are the two major factors contributing to yerida (the emigration of Israelis), according to Dov Shilansky, a Deputy Minister in Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, who is in charge of preventing yerida.
Speaking with Israeli reporters here at a press conference today sponsored by the Jewish Agency’s aliya department, Shilansky, who arrived here last Friday for a two-week visit to study the problem of yerida, said that according to official Israeli statistics some 300,000 Israeli citizens emigrated since 1948 and settled mostly in North America.
Shilansky said that during the U.S. visit he will meet with Israelis in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, in addition to meetings with yordim in New York which he held in the last three days. He said that he met with Israelis in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens over the weekend and that those meetings made it clear to him that many Israelis here would like to return home. He said that difficulties in finding appropriate housing and employment in Israel are deterrents to many who wish to return. But Shilansky said that many Israelis whom he met here are “frustrated.” He said in each meeting he had with Israelis there were those who “attacked Israel and defamed it.”
WILL PRESENT TAPES TO BEGIN
Shilansky said that he tape recorded the conversations he had with yordim and that upon his return to Israel he will prepare a condensed version of the tapes and present it to Premier Menachem Begin in order for the Premier to get first-hand information about the feelings of Israelis abroad.
Shilansky added, however, that in order to prevent yerida it is important to de-legitimize emigration from Israel the way it used to be after the State of Israel was established.
“It is important that the public in Israel should know that not every Israeli in America is a millionaire,” and that most of them struggle hard to make a living, he said.