JERUSALEM (Oct. 28)
The possibility of American Jewry raising the $125,000,000 to $150,000,000 a year for Israel which has been proposed by Israel Finance Minister Levi Eshkol was discussed exhaustively last night at the five-day economic conference of world Jewish leaders here. Leading roles in that discussion were taken by United Jewish Appeal executive head Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz and Israel bond drive head Henry Montor, both of whom emphasized that the American Jewish community was united in its support of Israel.
Dr. Schwartz told the conference that there was basic unity between the UJA and the bond drive in their common goal of raising as much money for Israel’s varied needs as possible. The only conflict, he pointed out, was in the timing of an occasional local meeting or campaign. Mr. Montor supported Dr. Schwartz’ declaration of unity of the two campaigns. Terming reports of disunity in the American Jewish community “not only an exaggeration but a distortion,” the UJA leader insisted that “we have achieved a degree of unity in the United States which is remarkable.”
Dr. Schwartz warned against proposals to change the organizational structure of the UJA and bond drive, asserting that not more, but less, money would be raised by setting up one overall Israel drive or by any other type of organizational “gimmick.” He also scored proposals to divorce Israel campaigns from drives for local and national needs in the various local welfare campaigns, pointing out that all American Jews were interested in both local and Israel needs. He also argued against attempts to “legislate” for the local communities, stating that coordination or any other policy is set up not in the offices of the national campaigns in New York but on the local level.
The UJA leader declared flatly that the sums proposed by the Israel Finance Minister are going to be difficult to raise and pointed out that proposals from Israel to set up a long-time fund-raising program in the United States will conflict with the efforts of the UJA and bond drive to raise larger sums in any specific year.
He insisted that it is not possible to tell American Jews that they must prepare themselves to financially support Israel for another generation or two and at the same time to ask them to increase their participation in the UJA and bond campaigns in 1954 as well as to come up with a means of helping Israel refund its current short-term obligations. The 1954 greater goals and support of efforts to refund currently due debts are enough of a program for the time being, he concluded.
MONTOR URGES “COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY” IN SALE OF BONDS
Mr. Montor underlined the enormity of the request by Mr. Eshkol that American Jews raise between $125,000,000 and $150,000,000 for Israel next year. He pointed out that from all sources–UJA, bonds and other philanthropies including imports in kind–Israel received only $90,000,000 from American Jews this past year. He maintained that more bonds could be sold in the United States if their sale was made a “collective responsibility.”
“There is a vacuum today in the United States in terms of unified, organized action for Israel, ” Mr. Montor stressed. “If that vacuum is not filled the dangers to Israel and to the organizations helping it are great. If we fill the vacuum and mobilize American Jewry’s great goodwill we can raise more money for the UJA as well as for bonds. What is involved here is not a matter of the UJA versus bonds, but a strengthening of both.”