NEW YORK (Nov. 14)
Permission to conduct separate Youth Aliyah fundrasing drives throughout the world was asked today at the plenary session of the Jewish Agency executive by Moshe Kol, director of the Youth Aliyah movement conducted by the Agency. Mr. Kol said that this was necessary in view of the increasing needs and decreasing funds for youth immigration.
The session today was devoted to problems of the Economic Department of the Jewish Agency which is charged with encouraging and assisting the flow of investment capital to Israel. Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan of Israel and Robert R. Nathan, director of the Agency’s Economic Department, participated in the debate. Detailed budgetary problems are now being discussed by a special committee appointed by the executive. This committee will soon report its recommendations to the Agency’s planary session.
In his report today, Mr. Kol pointed out that at present separate campaigns for Youth Aliyah are being conducted solely through Hadassah in the United States, the Canadian Hadassah and a special Youth Aliyah Commission in Great Britain. Elsewhere, Youth Aliyah receives 10 percent of the proceeds of local united Israel fund campaigns. He reported that about 17,000 children and youths up to 17 years of age are presently under Youth care in 240 centers in Israel.
SAYS MOVEMENT CAN ALSO GET SUPPORT FROM NON-ZIONIST AND NON-JEWISH CIRCLES
“Agricultural settlements have stressed their readiness to absorb 5,000 youths as soon as we can provide them,” Mr. Kol continued. “But because of fund shortages Youth Aliyah has been forced to limit its care to youths between the ages of 14 and 17 except in the case of orphans for whom there is no age limit. The movement is absorbing between 600 and 700 children monthly, mostly from Eastern Europe, neighboring Arab countries and North Africa.
“More recent arrivals show a greater number of youngsters in need of special care,” Mr. Kol reported. Fifteen to twenty percent of all children from Arab countries are mental cases of one kind or another and require care in institutions manned by psychiatrists and special workers. Hadassah’s Lasker Mental Hygiene and Child Chidance Center is cooperating in this work as is Malben, the social welfare organization established recently with the backing of the Jewish Agency, the Joint Distribution Committee and the Israel Government.
“On the other hand,” Mr. Kol said, “the J.D.C.–pleading lack of funds–has instituted a policy of cutting its maintenance of Youth Aliyah centers in France by ten percent each month. It is here that children from the Arab chettos are brought for initial rehabilitation and training before being sent to Israel. Negotiations with the J.D.C. on this matter are still under way.
“It is our feeling,” Mr. Kol said, “that the Youth Aliyah movement could get considerably more support, not only in Zionist circles but in non-Zionist and non-Jewish circles, were it permitted to conduct seperate campaigns in such areas as latin America and Western Europe. This is strictly a humanitarian project in which there is widespread interest which has not yet been fully exploited by existing United Israel Appeals.”