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“terrible Choice” Facing J.D.C. As Fund Shortage Forces Program Cuts, Leavitt Reports

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Moses A. Leavitt, executive vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, reported today upon his return from a two-month survey trip to Europe and Israel that a “terrible choice,” which will determine the future of hundreds of thousands of desperate Jews overseas, now faces the J.D.C.

“Today,” Mr. Leavitt declared, “because J.D.C.’s funds have been almost entirely exhausted by the vast 1950 emigrations from Europe and the Moslem world, we are faced with a grave dilemma–whether or not to cut off tens of thousands of sick and needy Jews from our relief rolls in order to help thousands of other Jews reach Israel before their emigration deadlines expire.” He said there are approximately 75,000 “now or never” emigrants to be moved before the end of the year by the J.D.C.

“Unless additional funds are swiftly forthcoming from the American Jewish community through the United Jewish Appeal, which provides J.D.C. with the funds for its overseas operations, we will be forced to make the decision in the near future,” he said. “Either choice may result in disaster for tens of thousands.”

Mr. Leavitt returned to this country today after participating in the J.D.C. country directors’ conference in Paris last week. At the conference, J.D.C. field directors from 19 countries of Europe, North Africa and the Near East reported on the status and needs of Jews in those areas. While in Israel last month, he was one of the 44 American Jewish leaders invited to meet with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and other government officials to discuss the current economic needs of the Jewish state.

The crisis which has virtually depleted J.D.C.’s funds, Mr. Leavitt declared, was the result of emigration opportunities which were suddenly granted this year, for a limited period, to Jews in a number of countries which had not previously permitted legal emigration. “Our growing financial crisis has forced us to hold back the emigration of thousands of men, women and children desperate to leave,” he said. “It was heartbreaking to hear country director after country director plead, at the Paris conference, for us to give the Jews of his area a chance to leave, a chance to live.”

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