Assembly of Jewish Federations Opens; Priority for Israel Urged

A powerful appeal to the Jewish communities of the United States to consider the United Jewish Appeal as “priority No. 1″ in order to strengthen Israel and to help the emigration of Jews from Morocco was made here today by Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, executive vice-chairman of the UJA, addressing the opening session of the four-day General Assembly of the Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds.

Speaking before more than 500 Jewish community leaders from all parts of the United States and Canada, Dr. Schwartz–who returned this week from a tour of Israel and Europe–gave the delegates a first-hand account of current developments in the Jewish State and in other overseas areas. He said that the next five years will be crucial for Israel from the point of view of enabling it to become firmly established as a viable state and economy, assuring its ability to absorb hundreds of thousands of Jews in distress areas “who look to it as a beacon of hope and haven.”

“Certainly strengthening Israel should constitute ‘priority No. 1′ for the American community for its years immediately ahead,” Dr. Schwartz emphasized. “This is especially true since the period of 1948 to 1954 saw a majority of pressing local problems and building programs met. The order of the day must be: more giving in 1955, and greater support for Israel to speed the young state on the road to full economic self-sufficiency and independence.”

DR. SCHWARTZ OUTLINES ISRAEL’S PRESENT-DAY PROBLEMS

The UJA leader urged the American Jewish community leaders to keep constantly in mind that Israel is still engaged in a struggle for its very existence. “Six and one-half years after the establishment of the state, Israel still enjoys no peace, and hostile neighbors refuse to enter into normal relations with the young democracy, “he said. “Instead, they spare no effort to harrass it at every turn by economic blockade, by every device of propaganda, by continued para-military adventures along Israel’s frontiers.”

Israel’s security situation, Dr. Schwartz reported, was appreciably worsened in the last year and the burden of bolstering its security has fallen upon the people and government “at a time when fresh and imposing human problems cry out for a solution.” Nearly 70, 000 immigrants, many of them arrivals of three years ago, still languish in makeshift transit towns. “In the light of all this the time has come for American Jewish communities to think again in terms of essential and long-range priorities,” he suggested.

Charles I. Schottland, Commissioner of Social Security for the United States Department of Health, Welfare and Education, addressing the opening session of the CJFWF, paid tribute to the work of Jewish community leaders and to their determination to provide all necessary social services for the community. “It should be said parenthetically that in the face of declining income, it is a tribute to the earnestness and zeal of Jewish community leaders that no important Jewish community in America has reduced its social services in any significant way.”

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