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Survey Shows Most Soviet Olim Are Glad That They Chose Israel

The vast majority of the Soviet Jews who have immigrated to Israel recently are glad they made the choice.

An overwhelming 78 percent would advise their relatives still in the Soviet Union to come to Israel, according to a poll of recent olim, conducted in October.

The results, published Wednesday in Ma’ariv, show that only 8 percent would recommend their relatives go to the United States or another country, and only 3 percent would advise them to stay in the Soviet Union. Another 10 percent said they were uncertain.

The United States had been the choice of the vast majority of Jews leaving the Soviet Union until last year, when Washington stopped increasing its refugee quota to keep pace with the rising level of Jewish emigration.

Meanwhile, Shoshana Cardin, newly elected chairwoman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, urged American Jews to regard Soviet aliyah as a tremendous investment opportunity, rather than only a philanthropic cause.

Cardin was in Jerusalem along with Seymour Reich, outgoing chairman of the Conference of Presidents, an umbrella group representing 46 national Jewish organizations in the United States.

She and Reich were critical of the apparent lack of bureaucratic coordination among the Israeli ministries and agencies responsible for immigration and absorption.

“There seems to be not that urgency of everyone working together to ensure the maximum efficiency in the minimum amount of time,” Cardin, who also chairs the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, was quoted as saying.

LARGEST NUMBER CAME FROM UKRAINE

She said American Jewish investors could make money while helping build homes and amenities for the million Soviet Jews expected in Israel by the end of next year.

She said the Conference of Presidents would be pressing for larger U.S. loan guarantees to help Israel absorb the massive immigration.

Ma’ariv published a demographic study of the 150,000 Soviet olim who arrived in Israel this year through Nov. 30. The largest number, 48,281, were from the Ukraine, followed by 35,014 from the Russian republic.

The Central Asian republics provided 21,125 of the newcomers; Byelorussia, 18,850; Moldavia, 10,045; Georgia and the Caucasus, 9,514; and the Baltic states — Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia–6,370.

Non-professionals were the largest category by occupation, numbering 51,488. There were 20,636 engineers, 12,239 factory workers, 8,332 clerks, 5,044 doctors, 4,262 artists and 3,653 nurses.

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