MIAMI BEACH (Feb. 18)
The sum of $65, 350,000 has been pledged by 69 Jewish communities throughout the country toward a five-year $75, 000,000 loan now being floated by the United Jewish Appeal with a view to stabilizing Israel’s economy, it was announced today, on the eve of the opening here tomorrow of the three-day 1954 National Inaugural Conference of the UJA. The conference will be attended by 900 community leaders from all parts of the country.
The announcement was made by Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, UJA executive vice-chairman, who pointed out that the loan project–the first of its kind by an American philanthropic agency–is in addition to the $119,921,150 goal of the UJA for 1954. It emphasized that it is the aim of the UJA leaders to complete the campaign for the loan in the next six weeks to avoid interference with the regular UJA drive.
The extraordinary loan project was proposed by the UJA last December 10 in New York at a meeting of representative American Jewish leaders. They heard that the Jewish Agency had incurred a critical indebtedness arising out of the mass influx of 750,000 immigrants in the period from May 14, 1948, when the State was founded, to May, 1953.
Taking action on this report, the New York meeting endorsed a proposal to seek a $75,000,000 loan from the country’s Jewish communities to be amortized over a five-year period at a rate of 20 percent per annum and to be guaranteed out of the receipts of the United Jewish Appeal’s regular fund-raising campaigns, The meeting also named a 99-man organizing committee headed by William Rosenwald, national chairman of the UJA, who led a move to present this plan to local Jewish welfare fends.
ISRAEL WILL BE ABLE TO REPAY $75,000,000 IN SHORT TERM DEBTS
Dr. Schwarts pointed out that the loan would serve not only to relieve the Jewish Agency of its most pressing problems, but would have the effect of making it possible for the Government of Israel to retire some $75,000,000 in short term debts which now impose a staggering burden on the new State’s economy. This follows from the fact that the Jewish Agency, like all organizations and individuals under Israel law, furnishes its foreign currency to the Israel Treasury in exchange for Israel pounds.
It was explained that to make up for the shortage of funds required to carry on its philanthropic work, the Jewish Agency was forced to borrow heavily from the Government of Israel, and that the Government, in its turn, incurred sizeable debts of a short-term nature to meet the emergency growing out of the mass immigration. The funds which the Jewish Agency will receive will come to it from the United Israel Appeal, the major constituent agency of the UJA.