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J.D.C. Country Directors Get Reports on Programs in Israel Elsewhere

Israel has set for itself a program of stringent economic controls and intensive production in order to make possible the absorption of the tens of thousands of North African Jews seeking admission into Israel, Dr. Giora Josephthal, Jewish Agency treasurer, told the tenth annual meeting here of Joint Distribution Committee country directors. Dr. Josephthal hailed the contribution of American Jewry to the North African problem and declared that “our task would be an impossible one without the financial support of American Jewry.”

Charles Passman, director of the JDC in Israel, said that Malben, the JDC welfare program in Israel, had aided over 100,000 men, women and children since it was inaugurated in 1949. Many of these, he said, had been turned back into the Israel economy as producers rather than drains on an already over-strained economy.

Moses W. Beckelman, JDC director general for Europe, reported that of the $525,000,000 expended by the JDC since inception in 1914, $400,000,000 had been spent in the decade since the end of World War II. The JDC, he stressed, had accomplished the following in the years since 1949:

1. Reduced the Jewish DP camp population from 250,000 to 1,400; 2. Assisted the emigration of 620,000 Jews from Europe, including 500,000 who went to Israel; 3. Reduced the number of Jews on private relief rolls in continental Europe from 750,000 to 30,000, and 4. Initiated 14 loan institutions for artisans, professionals and small businessmen. These institutions made more than 25,000 loans, 90 percent of which have been or are being paid back.

What remains for the JDC to do in Europe is due to the fact that the Jewish communities them selves have not yet recovered from many years of war and Nazism and are not yet prepared to take over entirely their own welfare problems, he reported. This phase of the JDC’s work, with funds from the Conference on Material Claims Against Germany, has begun to make a substantial contribution– a contribution whose importance is expected to increase in the years ahead and to pave the way for the re-establishment of the European Jewish communities on a self-supporting basis, Mr. Beckelman said.

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