ATLANTIC CITY (Jan. 12)
The tenth annual national conference of the United Jewish Appeal opened here today to discuss the greatest reconstruction and immigration program in the history of the Jewish people, involving the expenditure of about $373,000,000 in 1949.
The 1,200 delegates attending the conference will vote on a quota for the U.J.A. campaign after the representatives of communities throughout the United States have thoroughly discussed the needs of the Jews of Israel, Europe and the United States and the prospect for large-scale fund-raising in this country.
A blueprint of action was outlined in today’s session by leaders of the Joint Distribution Committee, the United Palestine Appeal, and the United Service for New Americans–constituent agencies of the United Jewish Appeal, The liquidation of the problem of displaced Jews before the end of the year and the immigration to Israel of the largest possible number of Jewish refugees from Europe are among the major objectives which were discussed at today’s session, as was the adjustment of large numbers . of refugees expected to reach the U.S. in 1949.
The J.D.C. estimated that it would need $70,086,400 in 1949. At the same time, the relief and rehabilitation agency pointed out that should the rate of immigration to Israel continue at higher than 10,000 persons per month, the J.D.C. may require $81,915,400.
The U.P.A. estimated that expenditures for its overall program of receiving, rehabilitating and resettling new immigrants in 1949 in Israel will total $291,246,000. It pointed out that a minimum of 180,000 Jews will migrate to Israel during 1949. The budget figures presented by the U.P.A. include the sum of $150,450,000 for immigration and housing in Israel.
The United Service for New Americans presented a budget calling for $11,644,505 for its 1949 activities in resettling Jewish immigrants in the United States. It estimated that Jewish immigration to this country will approximate 24,500 during 1949 as compared with 15,500 in 1948. The U.S.N.A. budget includes no allowance for additional Jewish immigrants who may be expected to come to the U.S. if the discriminatory sections of the Displaced Persons Act of I948 are eliminated by Congress.
U.J.A. PAST ACCOMPLISHMENTS AID ISRAEL, REFUGEES NOW. ROSENWALD SAYS
William Rosenwald, national chairman of the U.J.A. who presided at the opening session today, in a keynote address, declared that the vast accomplishments during the 10 years since the inception of the U.J.A. “have brought us to the crossing of a threshold into a new era for Jews overseas and for Jews in Israel.”
Emphasizing that the U.J.A. raised more than $500,000,000 during the 10 years of its existence, Rosenwald said that the historic developments of the last year–including the establishment of the state of Israel and the beginning of mass immigration into the Jewish state–as well as the “wider opportunities” in 1949 came about as a result of the achievements of the American Jewish communities during the past 10 years. He paid tribute to Henry Morgenthau, Jr., who headed the IT.J.A. during the last two years, and pointed out that 1949 is “a year of opportunity” during which the final please of many critical problems facing Jews overseas and in Israel can be solved.
EMPTYING DP CAMPS IN 1949 IS J.D.C. GOAL, SCHWARTZ SAYS
Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, chairman of the European Executive Council of the J.D.C., reported that the emergency phase of relief work for Europe’s Jews is practically completed and that during this year major stress will be laid on emptying the Jewish DP camps, speeding nearly 200,000 emigrants to Israel and expanding the aid program in North Africa.
Dr. Schwartz described the projected emptying of Jewish DP camps as “one of our great goals in 1949.” He disclosed that about 80,000 Jews left the DP camps during last year. “Today,” he said, “Jews are leaving the camps at a rate of 7,000 per month. If we maintain this rate we can empty the camps, for all practical purposes, within a year or less.”
The J.D.C. leader stressed that liberalization of the present U.S. DP law, which in its present form bars the great majority of displaced Jews from entry, would make it possible to empty the camps at a much faster pace. “The emptying of the Jewish DP camps depends on the Jewish communities of the United States,” he added. “They have it in their power to assure a visa for every Jew in a DP camp who wants to go to Israel.” Describing the deplorable conditions of Jews in North Africa, Dr. Schwartz emphasized that the J.D.C. will concentrate on ameliorating them. He declared that J.D.C. reconstruction work among the hundreds of-thousands of Jews who will remain in Europe will be centered in the countries of Eastern Europe, “where economic revolution is taking place,” making it necessary for thousands of men and women to adapt and retrain themselves or emigrate.
WEISMAN AND ROSENBERG REPORT ON U.P.A. AND USNA ACTIVITIES
Herman L. Weisman, acting national chairman of the U.P.A., told the conference that the most important aspect in the present Israeli diplomatic and military situation is that “the armies of Israel have demonstrated their ability to defend the borders of their land.” With Israel’s borders secured and its nationhood recognized the next step must be to make possible the absorption of large numbers of immigrants and the strengthening of the country’s economy, he said. “The Jews of the United States must provide the funds,” he emphasized.
Weisman stressed the special situation of the Jews in Eastern Europe. Many of them, he said, wish to come to Israel and thus far they have had little difficulty in securing exit permits from their governments.
Edwin Rosenberg, president of USNA, predicted that the end of Jewish homelessness in Europe “will finally be achieved.” in 1949. He credited the mass migration to Israel, the U.S. and other lands “to a combination of years of resolute effort and unceasing activity carried on by the Jews of America through the U.J.A.” Rosenberg paid tribute to the Jewish communities of America for their “prompt action” in providing Jobs and housing assurances for Jewish displaced persons in accordance with the provisions of the DP Act
Harry N. Rosenfield, member of the U.S. Displaced Persons Commission, reported that President Truman is personally optimistic that a new DP act will be passed this year to enable at least 400,000 refugees from Europe to enter the U.S. within the next two years. He said that the President would actively support major amendments to the DP Act of 1948, as proposed by Senators Howard J. McGrath and Matthew M. Neely.