NEW YORK (Dec. 10)
The Joint Distribution Committee, at its 39th annual conference here today, adopted a 1954 “minimum budget” of $26,186,000 for its relief, resettlement and rehabilitation activities in 20 countries of Europe, North Africa and the Near East, including Israel. The figure represents an increase of $4,000,000 over 1953 expenditures by the agency.
Nearly one-half of the budget will be spent in JDC operations in Israel, including the work of Malben, the welfare program in behalf of the aged, ill and handicapped in the Jewish State. The 500 delegates unanimously pledged full support to the 1954 campaign of the United Jewish Appeal, which provides the funds for JDC operations.
Edward M.M. Warburg was re-elected JDC chairman, Moses A. Leavitt was re-elected executive vice-chairman. Dr. Joseph Schwartz and Moses W. Beckelman were re-elected director-generals. Dr. Schwartz was also granted an extension of his leave of absence from his JDC post to permit him to continue serving as executive vice-chairman of the UJA.
Addressing the delegates, Mayor-elect Robert F. Wagner sharply criticized the McCarran-Walter Act as “an ugly monument to the theories of racism and isolationism,” erected by “hysteria and know-nothingism.” The omnibus immigration law, Mr. Wagner said, “makes a mockery of our great tradition of hospitality to the oppressed and anguished.” Pointing out that he is the son of an immigrant, he declared “the concept of second-class citizenship” embodied in the law “violates our fondest boast–the equality of all Americans before the law.”
Mr. Wagner said he was most impressed with JDC’s emigration assistance activities. “As Mayor-elect of a city whose citizenry is made up so largely of the foreign-born and their children, I can readily appreciate how much your aid has meant to those who sought to find new homes in free lands, and who needed your helping band to do so, ” he said.
WARBURG LAUDS AMERICAN JEWRY FOR GENEROUS AID
Mr. Warburg, who recently returned from Europe and Israel where he learned first-hand the needs of overseas Jews, reported “we have won some notable skirmishes” in the fight for recovery and rehabilitation. But “the battle must yet continue,” he observed. “There should no longer be Jews living on the edge of a volcano, helplessly waiting for a sudden turn in world events which may cause the volcano to erupt–but there are.”
The JDC chairman paid tribute to the American Jewish community which “already has given much, particularly to the United Jewish Appeal, for the rescue of hundreds of thousands.” He called upon them to contribute even more, however, because “only in that way may we some day reach the happy end of the road.”
Mr. Leavitt reported that JDC expenditures exceeded $22,000,000 in 1953 and provided aid for some 160,000 persons in 20 countries on four continents. In Israel, Mr. Leavitt announced, JDC’s welfare agency, Malben, aided some 25,000 persons through its network of 100 old-age homes, custodial care centers, hospitals, sanitaria, clinics, sheltered workshops and other installations, as well as through out-patient clinics, rehabilitation loans and other forms of reconstruction aid.
In contrast to the “continuing and heartening progress” in Israel and the Moslem lands, Mr. Leavitt pointed to Europe “where we came face to face with the realization that here only a long-term program of aid could continue to advance Jewish survivors towards a peaceful and prosperous future. It is a tragedy compounded because so many are so-called ‘hard core’ cases and their dependents to whom nearly all avenues of emigration had hitherto been barred and who, because of illness, disability, old age or physical handicaps, find themselves unable to earn their own livelihoods, unable to survive without outside economic assistance,” he said.
Mr. Beckelman, director-general for JDC overseas operations, told the delegates that among those urgently requiring JDC aid in 1954 will be: About 30,000 in Europe, including thousands of “hard-core” cases and their dependents; nearly 100,000 of the 578,000 Jews in the Moslem world, who must continue to receive extensive feeding aid, medical care, vocational training and educational aid; some 35,000 persons in Israel who must be given institutional care and reconstruction aid, vocational training and cultural, religious and educational assistance.