NEW YORK (Dec. 12)
The annual national conference of the United Jewish Appeal, attended by more than 1,200 Jewish community leaders from all parts of the country, concluded here today with the adoption of a goal of $99,521,275 for the 1955 campaign.
In setting this goal as against the almost $120,000,000 needed by the three constituent agencies of the UJA–the United Israel Appeal, Joint Distribution Committee and New York Association for New Americans–the delegates took into account that some $20,000,000 will be forthcoming from the reparations funds now accruing to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
William Rosenwald, long prominent as a top leader in Jewish philanthropic activities, was elected UJA general chairman. He succeeds Edward M. M. Warburg, who was elected to the newly-created post of UJA president, thereby continuing as a key figure in the organization. Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz was drafted for a fifth term as the UJA executive vice-chairman. He will be succeeded in 1956 by Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman of Milwaukee. Dewey D. Stone was named a national chairman of the UJA to represent the United Israel Appeal. He succeeds Rudolf G. Sonneborn.
URGES U.S. JEWRY TO GIVE FIRST PRIORITY TO U.J.A. NEEDS
In a resolution hailing Mr. Rosenwald’s election, the conference delegates declared they would work wholeheartedly with him to seek "the highest possible income" for the 1955 UJA drive. They issued a call to American Jewry to give first priority to the needs of the United Jewish Appeal.
The call warned that unless Israel is helped to receive and settle the 30,000 men, women and children due to come in 1955 from troubled Tunisia and Morocco "much of the economic progress in Israel during these last few years will be destroyed and a new era of reception camps, tents and idleness may undermine the country’s economy." The delegates also asked strong support for programs in North Africa for the welfare, education, vocational training and rehabilitation of Jews who will remain there in the coming year.
Mr. Warburg, in summing up the record of American Jewry’s support of the UJA since the end of World War II, called it one of "the most dynamic decades in the 300 year old history of Jewry in America." In this period, he stated, American Jews had contributed more than $800,000,000 to the UJA to save and aid over 2,500,000 refugee and distressed men, women and children in Israel, Europe, Moslem lands and the United States.
Jewish welfare funds and combined campaigns were urged to give increased allocations to the United Jewish Appeal by the 35-member UJA Study Mission which two weeks ago returned from a month-long survey of Jewish needs in Europe, Israel and Morocco. Speaking for the mission and quoting from its official report, Max M. Fisher, noted Detroit industrialist, said that "the mission is convinced that Israel’s future, and the future of the Jews of North Africa, cannot be viewed or dealt with in terms of routine campaign giving, or in terms of normal campaign budgeting." The mission also urged individual American Jews to raise their standard of giving "immediately and substantially."
DR. SCHWARTZ MAKES PASSIONATE APPEAL TO JEWISH COMMUNITIES
Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, executive vice-chairman of the UJA since 1951, who was persuaded to remain until the end of 1955 as executive head of the organization, made a passionate appeal to the delegates for maximum allocations by the communities to the United Jewish Appeal. He emphasized Israel needs and the exceptional situation of the Jews in the Moslem countries in North Africa, and urged all communities to follow the "pre-campaign budgeting" system in which UJA requirements should be given proper attention.
Dr. Schwartz informed the conference why the United Service for New Americans does not figure in the 1955 UJA budget. He said that the USNA merged earlier this year with HIAS and by agreement of the various agencies concerned the new organization, known as United HIAS Service, will raise its own funds in 1955. The United HIAS Service, he pointed out, also absorbed the migration service of the Joint Distribution Committee, and from now on there will be a division of labor in handling the refugee problem. The United HIAS Service will assist refugees in their actual migration between countries, while the New York Association for New Americans, with UJA funds, will assist in the resettlement and adjustment of those who arrive in the United States.
Explaining why he would not accept the post of UJA executive vice-chairman for more than another year, Dr. Schwartz told the conference that he had originally assumed this post in 1951 for a temporary period not to exceed two years. "When I agreed to accept the vice-chairmanship," he declared, "an emergency confronted the UJA. But at the end of the 1955 campaign, I will have served five years, a much longer period than I had originally expected to devote to this phase of the work. While leaving it is difficult, it is made easier by the knowledge that the UJA will be in capable hands."
ISRAEL FINANCE MINISTER STRESSES DECLINE IN U.S. AID
Israel Finance Minister Levi Eskhol, addressing the delegates, called upon American Jews to increase their support of the UJA to help offset the gradual decline his country faces in United States and other outside aid. He stressed that Israel has still not absorbed all the immigrants who have come to it, and is faced also by a new wave of mass immigration.
Israel would have the funds for this, he indicated, but continued Arab hostility is draining these off for programs of national defense. "Refusal of the Arab states to make peace forces us to carry a heavy burden of expenditure for armament," Mr. Eshkol declared, adding that Israel has no other choice since "we simply cannot afford to find ourselves weaker than the Arab States, which so far have preferred enmity to the friendship we offer them."
With stronger aid from American Jews, he explained, Israel could get on with the "unfinished business" of settling and absorbing its immigrants, expanding its irrigation, increasing its agricultural areas, and producing more both for the home and export markets.
The Israel Finance Minister expressed his country’s thanks to American Jews and to the United Jewish Appeal for their work this year in giving Israel a special fund of $64,000,000 over and above the funds raised through the UJA’s regular campaign. This special fund was raised through the action of 125 of the country’s major Jewish communities in floating five-year local bank loans and turning it over to the United Jewish Appeal for transmission to the Jewish Agency.
Moses W. Beckelman, director general of the overseas operations of the Joint Distribution Committee, told the delegates that "death, and a misery as grinding as death" face hundreds of thousands of Jews in North Africa who can be saved if American Jews act in time. He warned that "time is running out for Jews in North Africa."
The JDC director urged American Jews to increase their support of the UJA both for the movement of these Jews to Israel, and for the strengthening of programs in North Africa that will fit these Jews for a self-supporting life in the new state. He called upon American Jews to speed this work "while there is still time."
EX-HEAD OF U.S. MISSION DRAWS WARM PICTURE OF ISRAEL’S EFFORTS
Bruce McDaniel, former director of the United States Foreign Operations Mission in Israel, told the delegates that "while Israel has made good progress, this is a critical time in Israel’s economic life." It is a time, he said, "when more, rather than less, effort" should be made "to capitalize on what has been done, and to continue necessary social welfare and educational work." He drew a warm picture of Israel’s effort to achieve economic self-support.
Mr. McDaniel, who served as head of the U.S. Mission between 1951 and mid-1954, said that Israel’s people "look forward with faith to the time when their country will no longer depend on outside help." But at the present time, he declared, "Israel needs continued support." In this fiscal year alone, he pointed out, Israel requires from outside sources about $125 for every man, woman and child in the country in order to meet its budget for foreign needs.
Israel Ambassador Abba S. Eban, addressing the final session today, told the delegates that "Western statesmanship has progressed" in its appreciation of Israel’s security problems. "Far from dismissing this problem as non-existent," he declared, "the leaders of Western nations now openly declare their understanding of Israel’s sense of apprehension and vulnerability, and their belief that measures can be formulated to allay those feelings." The Ambassador termed this "distinct progress."
FRIENDLY DISCUSSIONS IN WASHINGTON ON ISRAEL’S SECURITY
At the same time, he cautioned that "we should not, however, confuse recognition of a problem with its solution." The solution, he declared, still remains to be found. He stressed that while Israel’s "preoccupation with the effects of western security policy in the Middle East thus continues in full force," discussions are going forward "in the framework of our abiding American-Israel friendship."
Mr. Eban told the UJA conferees that he "would not withdraw a word of what I have said in tense and difficult times about that friendship for Israel and its essential strength in the consciousness of both peoples." The "greater American tendency in recent weeks to articulate and affirm" this friendship, he declared, now obliges "us to use it as an instrument for the solution of problems, and the avoidance of dangers in the domain of Middle Eastern security."
William Rosenwald, in acknowledging the unanimous vote which named him UJA general chairman, declared, "in 1955 we are faced by the same great obligation to save and aid that moved us so many times in the past." He called for "extra and extraordinary support of Israel’s free people who need our support to strengthen their democratic way of life and to welcome those who come from lands of danger," and also urged special aid for Jews in "tension-ridden" Tunisia and Morocco.