American Jewish Leaders in Jerusalem Debate Israel’s Plan for $1,500,000,000 Loan
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American Jewish Leaders in Jerusalem Debate Israel’s Plan for $1,500,000,000 Loan

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The various currents prevailing among Jews in the United States with regard to giving increased financial aid to Israel–including heavy participation in the $1,500,000,000 loan which the Jewish state contemplates launching among Jews throughout the world–found their expresssion here today at the urgent economic conference called jointly by the Israel Government and the Jewish Agency in which 44 American Jewish leaders are participating.

The general debate on the Israel Government’s plan to seek a huge loan among the Jews of the world, and principally among the Jews of the United States, was opened today by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the American section of the Jewish Agency. He said that world Jewry has not understood the full significance of the revolution which took place in Jewish life with the establishment of the state of Israel. The problems which now confront that state–such as immigration and absorption–are problems which belong to the entire Jewish people, he insisted, adding that local needs must be postponed.

Robert Nathan, noted American economist and member of the economic department of the Jewish Agency in America, said that “although American Jews have been most generous in their contributions, charity alone cannot build Israel.” Pointing out that Israel’s decision to assume one-third of the financial burden will mean austerity and a serious lowering of the standard of living in Israel, he declared that no such sacrifice would be involved for American Jewry to loan or invest the greater part of a billion dollars.

Mr. Nathan predicted that Israel will spearhead the economic development of the entire Middle East. “Nobody can seriously question the fact that Israel can quickly become economically self-supporting and repay all its obligations,” he said. He expressed the opinion that-American Jewry is in a favorable economic position to provide a large loan to Israel during the next three years.


Julian Venezky, United Jewish Appeal leader, urged that the U.J.A. campaign be conducted independently of local welfare fund drives “because of the constantly heightening friction between Israel and local needs.” He added that “a straight appeal for the U.J.A. will give everybody a chance to give the utmost for Israel.”

Harold Lindner, representing the Joint Distribution Committee, said that the J.D.C. has not reached a decision on a bond issue. He thought it wiser not to undertake a bond issue on the basis of future immigration, bur rather on present needs. Two hundred million dollars are needed annually, he said, to assure a decent level of living for the 460,000 immigrants who have already arrived. He cautioned the Israel Government to be prepared to meet the very substantial cost of the redemption of the bond issue and warned against regarding it as contributions instead of investment.

Stanley C. Myers of Miami, president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, asked for more information on the effects of a bond issue on other sources of support for Israel causes.

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