JERUSALEM (Sep. 18)
One million Soviet Jews will arrive in Israel by the end of 1992, a top Jewish Agency official said Monday.
Simcha Dinitz, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives, told reporters here that his projection was based on hard evidence, not speculation.
Finance Minister Yitzhak Moda’i spoke of absorbing 1 million immigrants over the next five years when he presented his economic program to the Cabinet last week.
But Dinitz disclosed that Israel has already validated more than a million requests by Soviet Jews for family reunification, which have been submitted to the Soviet authorities.
In Moscow, Leonid Stonov, a leader of the Soviet Jewish Vaad, told visiting Israeli Housing Minister Ariel Sharon last week he thought as many as 1 million Soviet Jews could arrive in Israel within three years.
So far, Dinitz said, 280,000 requests for family reunification have been approved, including the 180,000 to 200,000 who will have arrived in Israel during the 1990 calendar year. He said that 400,000 Jews will come to Israel in each of the next two years.
Dinitz said the 1 million Jews that Israel is being called upon to absorb between 1990 and 1992 would be equivalent to an addition of 60 million people to the population of the United States.
According to Dinitz, the burden of absorption cannot be borne by Israel alone.
ADAPTING TO NEW REALITIES
He said that he and the Jewish Agency’s other top leaders, Board of Governors Chairman Mendel Kaplan and a past board chairman, Max Fisher, are considering ways to enlist the aid of world Jewry.
He said they would jointly be heading a commission that will include major Jewish figures from business and finance.
Dinitz said delegates to a Jewish Agency-United Jewish Appeal meeting in Geneva last week proposed extending the scope of the State of Israel Bonds Organization.
The idea would be to permit direct investment in Israeli industry instead of investment through the medium of the government, as is presently the case.
Another scheme Dinitz said was being examined would call for the purchase of residential housing in Israel by Diaspora communities or individuals who would rent the premises to olim.
Dinitz said world Jewry was beginning to adapt its responses to the new realities.
While initial fund-raising programs set a goal of $600 million over three years for “Operation Exodus,” the new target is $600 million over two years to bring Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel, Dinitz said.
That is in addition to over $300 million regularly funneled to Israel by the UJA, he said.
He said it was vital that every Jewish household worldwide participate financially in the effort to absorb Soviet Jews in Israel.
REMINDER: JTA will not publish the Daily News Bulletin on Friday, Sept. 21.