CHICAGO (Nov. 8)
With the Government of Israel emerging as the only force which can supply the basic long-term capital and organization for upbuilding the country’s economic position, American Jewish philanthropy must continue its responsibility of providing large-scale funds for resettlement and welfare purposes in 1950, Harold Glasser, director of the Institute on Overseas Studies of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, declared here during the week-end.
Addressing 125 leaders of America’s 30 largest Jewish communities at a National Planning Conference called by the CJFWF, Mr. Glasser said that Israel had experienced its “most trying economic year” but could now move ahead toward the realization of its “sound economic potential.” The conference appraised the current situation in regard to Israel, overseas and local Jewish needs as a “realistic basis for community planning to meet Jewry’s total responsibilities.”
In addition to Mr. Glasser, a panel of consultants answered questions of community leaders on aspects of contemporary Israel and overseas conditions. The panel consisted of Robert Nathan, director of the economic department of the American section of the Jewish Agency, and Moses Beckelman, assistant European director of the Joint Distribution Committee.
Utilizing the facts given on the Israel and overseas needs for 1950, the community representatives engaged in a round-table discussion on their implications for community planning, local capital funds needs, budgeting procedures, national-local relationships, and campaign organization and goals.
Mr. Glasser told the community leaders that a clear delineation of the roles of government and private philanthropy was necessary in planning aid to Israel in 1950. “The Government of Israel is emerging as the only effective force for supplying the basic capital and organization necessary to advance the country’s position,” he declared.
PHILANTHROPIC GROUPS BEING FORCED TO LIMIT ACTIVITIES, GLASSER SAYS
While Jews outside Israel, particularly the American Jewish community, have a great responsibility for providing Israel with adequate funds to carry out its program of internal upbuilding, specific tasks and capacities must be evaluated, he said. “Private philanthropic organizations,” Mr. Glasser asserted, “can no longer attempt to undertake tasks for which they do not possess adequate resources. They are being forced to restrict their activities primarily to the urgent welfare needs and can assume only a small part of the huge task of economic absorption of the new immigration.”
Analyzing Israel’s present economic position, Mr. Glasser said that despite the fact that Israel experienced “its most trying economic year in 1949, it demonstrated its basic stability and capacity to develop its sound economic potential to the fullest extent.” Even during the present period, when the new state faced the task of resettling and absorbing an unprecedented number of immigrants, and was forced to institute strict price and ration controls, its standard of living did not compare unfavorably with other small nations, he noted.
Mr. Nathan told the communal leaders that the flow of immigrants to Israel has imposed a problem whose “magnitude is almost beyond conception.” Regarding the resettlement of immigrants, he said that absorption had preceded at a much slower rate than had been desired, and that there had been only a partial absorption of many immigrants who had left the camps. This, he said, resulted from inadequate housing, capital facilities and equipment.