NEW YORK (Apr. 15)
The fact that nearly half a million Jews in many parts of the world look to the United Jewish Appeal for assistance should not prove a source of discouragement to the American Jews but rather a source of pride in accomplishment, Sen. Herbert H. Lehman declared here tonight.
Speaking to a dinner sponsored by the American ORT Federation on behalf of the UJA of Greater New York, Sen. Lehman pointed out that party because of American Jewry’s aid five times as many Jews have been enabled to become self-sufficient citizens in recent years. A total of $850,000 was pledged for the UJA by the 600 guests who attended the dinner.
Noting that there are many thousands of Jews who cannot be aided among the 500,000 and to whom “we can offer nothing but the deep assurance that we have not forgotten or forsaken them,” the Senator listed in this category:
1. Jewish refugees in Western Europe who want to come to the United States as immigrants but are barred by “the iniquitous, restrictive and arbitrary terms of the McCarran Walter Act” and the “shocking frustration” of the purposes of the Refugee Relief Act.
2. The “much vaster number of Jews terrorized, oppressed and pinned down behind the Iron Curtain, over whom hangs the heavy sword of genocide.”
The creation of the State of Israel, Sen. Lehman continued, “more than any other simple act of statesmanship in the past two thousand years, has given heart to those who have known only despair and suffering–to the homeless, the unwanted, the rootless wanderers in hostile lands. In six short years 750, 000 Jews have found in Israel a refuge and a homeland. There in six short years a new nation, with a dynamic economic life and a vibrant, democratic political life, has been constructed.”
“We here have a dual responsibility toward Israel, ” he stressed. “We have a responsibility as Jews for the welfare of our fellow-Jews attempting to build new lives for themselves in their new land. And we have a responsibility as Americans to foster the growth and development of the democratic way of life in a feudal area of the world.
“Above all, we have a high responsibility as American citizens to work for peace in the Middle East. I am convinced that the current tension between Israel and its Arab neighbors can be abated only if the United States and the United Nations insist on the prompt formalization and stabilization of the relations between Israel and her neighbors.”
Other addresses to the guests were made by Dr. William Haber, president of the American ORT Federation; Louis Broi###o, a vice-chairman of New York UJA’s board of directors; and Jack D. Weiler, a general chairman of New York UJA’s campaign. Dr. Haber recalled that through agreements with JDC for the past eight years “ORT has received the financial help which has made it possible to place 15,000 Jews on the road to independence.”