NEW YORK (Jan. 31)
Fund-raising for Israel in this country is experiencing a “serious, drastic decline,” Rudolf G. Sonneborn, national chairman of the United Israel Appeal, said today at the UIA annual meeting here.
Sounding a “somber warning” to the Jewish people in this country, Mr. Sonneborn, who was re-elected chairman at the meeting, declared that we can “no longer escape the painful and boldly apparent fact that available funds have been sharply reduced while at the same time responsibilities in Israel, particularly in terms of human lives and their productive rehabilitation, have more than trebled.” Mr. Sonneborn cited four major areas in Israel which have suffered sharply due to the drastic fund decline:
1. Transition camp conditions under which 100,000 immigrants live in very difficult straits with “food supplies low and malnutrition an ominous specter.”
2. Short-term foreign debts totalling $110,000,000 which must be reduced by a curtailment of imports. “This limitation on purchases abroad is working severe hardships in terms of consumer goods and necessary staples.”
3. Agricultural development has had to be limited “to the point where hundreds of thousands of acres produce only one-fourth of their potential due to a lack of funds for implementing irrigation projects in full scale.”
4. Social problem cases involving “tens of thousands of widows, aged, handicapped, who require direct assistance and the opportunity to do some kind of work but who are getting the barest minimum of either.”
Ellis Radinsky reporting on the activities of UIA agencies in Israel during 1953, announced that a total of $85,085,559 had been spent for the immigration and resettlement program. “In the highly-charged atmosphere of political tension and border attrition,” Mr. Radinsky said, the UIA agencies persisted in seeking to meet the productive needs of the country through a large-scale emphasis on agricultural development.
For the construction of 43 settlements, the development of those already in existence and the expansion of irrigation projects, the UIA last year spent more than $54,500,000, Mr. Radinsky said. As part of the agricultural program, a large-scale emphasis was placed on increasing the land area under irrigation. He pointed out that in 1953 an additional 30,000 acres were added to the irrigated area.