Bulk of Immigrants Arriving in Israel Are from Western Countries
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Bulk of Immigrants Arriving in Israel Are from Western Countries

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Western countries now account for the bulk of the immigrants arriving in Israel. Aliya from the Soviet Union is at its lowest ebb and immigration from Rumania is also down, according to figures released last week by Yehuda Dominitz, Director General of the Jewish Agency’s Immigration and Absorption Department.

But there are serious problems. As many as 40 percent of single olim from the West return home because of absorption difficulties — mainly in finding housing. That was disclosed recently by Leon Dulzin, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives, at a meeting with representatives of the immigrants’ associations in Israel — a meeting described as “stormy.”

Dominitz, addressing a seminar for the directors of absorption centers and immigrant hostels, stressed the significant rise in immigration. Some 15,028 olim arrived from January through November this year, compared to 12,200 in the January-November period of 982. Of this year’s number, 10,527 came from the West compared to 8,160 in the same period last year.


The number of American immigrants rose by 30 percent — 3,157 from January-November, 1983 against 2,438 in the same period of 1982. Aliya from France amounted to 1,952 through November of 1983 compared to 1,506 in 1982.

The trend shows signs of continuing although the increase in total aliya last month was only slight compared to November, 1982. In the latter month, 1,119 olim arrived. In November, 1983, the arrivals numbered 1,174. Of that number, 704 were from the West and the rest from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

Dominitz reported that only 57 Jews left the Soviet Union last month, the smallest number on record since the USSR began to allow Jews to leave more than a decade ago. Of the 57, 26 came to Israel. So far this year, only 371 Soviet Jews came to Israel compared to 683 in the same period last year.

About 166 Jews arrived from Rumania last month compared to 226 in November, 1982. Total aliya from Rumania this year amounted to 1,113 compared to 1,364 last year.


At their meeting with Dulzin, spokesmen for the immigrants associations complained bitterly about bureaucratic duplication between the WZO and the various government departments handling immigration.

They claimed that some 20,000 olim are presently living in hostels because there is no adequate housing for them. The immigrant leaders reportedly directed their sharpest criticism at the Housing Ministry for refusing to make more homes available to the newcomers.

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