NEW YORK (Nov. 5)
A plenary session of the Jewish Agency executive opens here tomorrow with budgetary problems and plans for the forthcoming World Zionist Congress topping the agenda. It will be the first meeting of the full Agency executive to be held in this country in nearly two years.
At a press conference, Berl Locker, chairman of the Jerusalem section of the Agency executive, explained that the decision to convene the plenary session in New York was made in recognition of the outstanding role which American Jewry must continue to play in the development of Israel. Another reason, he said, was the fact that many members of the Jerusalem section of the executive had come here to attend the National Planning Conference for Israel and Jewish Rehabilitation held in Washington last week.
Mr. Locker said the plenary session will set the exact date for the World Zionist Congress, which will be held in Jerusalem, probably some time in June. The executive will also draw up a tentative Congress agenda which must be approved by the Zionist Actions Committee. The Congress, originally scheduled for mid-winter, was postponed to early summer in order not to conflict with the seasonal fund-raising campaigns for Israel in this country, Mr. Locker explained.
Another major item on the plenary session agenda will be the Agency’s budget, Mr. Locker said. “While we staunchly uphold the principle that every Jew in the world who so desires may come to Israel, lack of funds has forced us to slow down organized immigration,” he said. “The rate of immigration at present is between 18,000 and 19,000 a month. We would like it to be greater, say over 25,000 a month. But that rate would require between $110,000,000 and $140,000,000 a year. We are presently getting between a third and forty percent of this amount.
LOCKER AND MRESON STREES IMPORTANCE OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO U.J.A.
Mr. Locker praised American Jewry for its unprecedented support of Israel but declared that it was not enough. “The billion dollars asked from America at the Washington conference last week is the minimum, not the maximum, required to meet Israel’s needs,” he declared. He warned that it would be fatal to assume that the advent of an Israel bond loan in this country means that the United Jewish Appeal is no longer of major consequence. On the contrary, the U.J.A. will be more important than ever, he said. “The transportation of immigrants, alone, costs between $18,000,000 and $19,000,000 a year which must come from U.J.A. and there are presently 50,000 immigrants in camps who depend upon U.J.A. funds for food and shelter.”
Israel Labor Minister Golda Myerson, who left yesterday for the Jewish state, declared just prior to boarding a plans here that it is urgent that American Jews carry out the recommendation of last week’s Washington conference for Israel and Jewish rehabilitation that $50,000,000 in cash be raised for the U.J.A. by the end of 1950. Mrs. Myerson, who came to the country to attend the Washington parley, praised its decision to raise $1,000,000,000 for Israel in three years.