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Labor Party Recommends Establishment of Immigrant Absorption Cabinet Post

May 27, 1968
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Jewish Agency officials were apparently satisfied today by the recommendation of Israel’s Labor Party to establish a new Ministry of Absorption in the Cabinet which would be responsible for the absorption of all newcomers except in the initial stages and would leave the organization of aliyah (immigration) in the hands of the Jewish Agency. The recommendation will be brought before the World Zionist Congress which opens here next month.

The decision in favor of a new ministry-and a new portfolio in the Cabinet-was adopted by a vote of 63 to 35 at a Labor Party meeting in Tel Aviv Friday. The minority proposal that the Government take over aliyah as well as absorption from the Jewish Agency was defeated. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol voted for the new ministry though he argued unsuccessfully that the appointment of a special minister be left out of the recommendation. Mr. Eshkol had warned on previous occasions that the creation of a new portfolio could lead to demands from the Herut and the Religious parties for the creation of more portfolios for themselves.

The plan for the Government to take over absorption in all but its primary stages was the result of months of deliberation by a special committee of the Labor Party headed by Itzhak Ben Aharon. It was agreed that primary absorption be left in Jewish Agency hands because it cannot be divorced from the immigration process. Details of the new ministry and a definition of the point where absorption will become a Government responsibility will be worked out between the Government and the Jewish Agency.

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