JERUSALEM (Dec. 31)
The head of the Jewish Agency’s Immigration and Absorption Department thinks the Israeli public should pay for the absorption of the quarter million Soviet Jews he estimates will come here in the next three years.
Uri Gordon is trying to convince the government and the Knesset to authorize a special loan, along the lines of the Yom Kippur War loan the government levied in 1973, which was repayable in 15 years.
Gordon told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was noncommittal when he presented the idea to him last week.
Vice Premier and Finance Minister Shimon Peres has spoken out publicly against what he calls a “forced loan.”
Gordon does not see it in such terms.
In a letter to Peres, which he made public last week, the Jewish Agency official stressed that according to authoritative predictions, more than 250,000 olim will arrive from the Soviet Union in the next three years.
Their absorption, he maintained, is not the specific responsibility of his department or of the government, “but of every citizen of this country.”