Israel's New European Immigrants
"Not a Burden, but a Stimulus"
As a result of the Hungarian revolution, which swept many Jews out in the stream of refugees that it created; the Sinai campaign, which forced Egyptian Jewry to leave their homes; and, above all, as a result of the opening of Poland’s doors to Jewish emigration, somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 new immigrants came to Israel during the year ending September 1957. The number of arrivals at Haifa varied from day to day, sometimes reaching the thousand mark, rarely falling below five hundred; only in the last few weeks has the stream begun to dwindle. Since this new mass immigration has certain economic characteristics that distinguish it from the large-scale influx of Jews transplanted from the Moslem countries to Israel in the preceding six years, the Israeli government regards it not as a burden but as a stimulus to the country’s economy.
The Jewish Agency—responsible for organizing the transport of immigrants, distributing them throughout the country upon their arrival, and looking after them during the first year of their stay—faced the new influx with a greatly reduced staff of only six hundred officials; there had been three thousand during the 1950-55 peakperiod of immigration from the Moslem countries. But the comparatively small staff was armed with experience and a notable gift for improvisation.
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