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Lewinsky Proposes to Jewish Agency Ways of Alleviating Housing Problem

June 26, 1985
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Jewish Agency Treasurer Akiva Lewinsky offered a series of proposals today to improve Israel’s serious housing situation. He urged immediate efforts to find housing for about 2,000 single persons and a reduction of bureaucratic red tape in granting supplementary housing loans to new immigrants so that they can shorten their stay at absorption centers.

Lewinsky spoke at the annual meeting here of the Jewish Agency Assembly. He repeated his suggestion to raise rents in the low income housing projects, Amigour and Amidar, joint ventures of the Jewish Agency and the government. The additional revenue should be used for funding new apartments to be built for recent immigrants from Ethiopia, he said.

Lewinsky said absorption policies should be reviewed and the partnership between the Jewish Agency and the various voluntary immigrants associations should be broadened to allow the latter to play a more significant role.


The Treasurer reported that in the last three years the Jewish Agency has reduced its debts by more than $100 million. The interest saved on the shrinking debt made new projects possible, he said. “Our firm commitment to debt retirement has improved and secured our financial standing.”

Lewinsky said the uncertainties of the coming year demand continuation of the debt retirement policy so that every future budget will be balanced and future expenditures will be based on real income.

He warned against the “luxury” of competition between the various fund-raising bodies for local and overseas needs — the United Jewish Appeal, the Israel Bonds, Israeli universities, hospitals, schools and other institutions. The Finance Minister has issued a clear directive restating the primacy of the Appeals, he said.

Lewinsky added, “The Jewish Agency is not a philanthropy. We are privileged to share in the building of Israel and our people. Our budgets complement Israel’s national budget.”

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