Menu JTA Search

Huge Rise in South American Olim

The World Zionist Organization predicts a substantial increase in Jewish immigration from South America this year, which they attribute to poor economic conditions in that region.

The WZO expects at least 3,000 South American immigrants to arrive in 1988, with 2,000 to 2,500 coming from Argentina. The projection is based on recent trends — during the first four months of this year, 890 South American olim arrived, 652 from Argentina.

Latin American immigrants in 1987 totaled 1,869, with Argentina accounting for 1,129 of them. The number in 1986 was 1,440, including 831 from Argentina.

The statistics were contained in a memorandum published Tuesday. Yehoshua Wallenberg, head of the WZO’s South American desk, said its emissaries in South America report high inflation, high unemployment and low wages as the strongest motives influencing Jews to leave.

The memorandum said other factors were a 60 percent intermarriage rate and violent anti-Semitism, but between 10 and 20 percent of olim from South America come here for “pure” Zionist reasons, the WZO said.

NEXT STORY