NEW YORK (Jun. 11)
The sum of $36,240,000 has been collected thus far by the United Jewish Appeal against 1962 campaign pledges, it was reported here today by Joseph Meyerhoff, UJA general chairman. He spoke at a one day UJA National Cash Meeting in the Savoy Hilton which was attended by 150 top Jewish community leaders from all parts of the country.
The sum is almost ten percent higher than the total collected last year at this time and is one of the highest midyear cash totals achieved by the UJA in the past decade. Mr. Meyerhoff called the near-record sum “a great midway victory in the effort to keep our overseas programs going in the face of the enormous pressure of rising Jewish immigration abroad. ” Israel D. Fink of Minneapolis served as national chairman of the cash drive.
First-hand reports on Israel’s current massive immigration and its attendant absorption problems were made by Ambassador Michael Comay, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, and Dr. Isadore Lubin, Consultant on Programs in Israel for the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc., a UJA beneficiary agency, which helps resettle Israel’s immigrants. Executive vice-chairman Herbert A. Friedman told the gathering how increased Jewish immigration to France, and other crises, are affecting the programs of the Joint Distribution Committee, another UJA beneficiary, in Europe and North Africa.
Calling on the assembled leaders to sustain the cash momentum during the rest of the year, Mr. Meyerhoff declared that Israel’s immigration for the first five months of the year was far heavier than for any comparable period in recent years. “The strain this has placed on the capacity of the people of Israel and the Jewish Agency to absorb these newcomers, ” he said, “can only be alleviated by cash and more cash. The heartening sum we have raised to date will go far toward eliminating halfway absorption measures forced recently by lack of funds for full measure resettlement aid. “
Reporting on these “halfway measures” adopted by the Jewish Agency for Israel in the present situation, Dr. Lubin told of “partially completed houses in which newcomers have been moving, many without doors, windows paint, electricity, sometimes even without floors. And even these half-finished units are rapidly being used up, while Agency personnel are working around-the-clock, trying to cope with this and other absorption problems.” The success of the Agency’s plan to build 18,000 immigrant housing units this year, he indicated, depends on a continuous flow of funds.
Ambassador Comay stressed the continuing determination of Israel’s people to take in and productively absorb all Jews who can and wish to enter the Jewish state, despite the hardships this might spell. Israel’s citizens, he noted, are already furnishing two of every three dollars required to speed immigrant reception and absorption, through taxes and levies. In the face of this year’s heightened immigration, Israel’s citizens voluntarily accepted added tax burdens to meet expanded need. He urged the UJA leaders to keep up their cash efforts.
30,000 JEWISH REFUGEES POURED INTO FRANCE IN LAST FIVE MONTHS
The heavy increase in Jewish immigration is not confined to Israel, but is taking place in France, as well, and has put “tremendous pressures” on the programs of the Joint Distribution Committee, Rabbi Friedman told the Jewish leaders. “At least 30,000 new Jewish arrivals have poured into France in the first five months of the year, ” the UJA executive head declared.” Added to the heavy Jewish refugee immigration into France of 1961, they have brought the total to at least 50,000 new refugees.”
The French Government has been liberal in its assistance, and the French Jewish community has stepped up its aid efforts. Rabbi Friedman told the conference. “Nonetheless, JDC’s relief rolls in France alone have soared to 38,000 persons–twice what they were a few years ago,” he said. He listed Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria as the sources of the immigration.
“Elsewhere in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, the JDC continues to cope with great problems of human rehabilitation and reconstruction,” he said. “At least half of the 600, 000 Jewish men, women and children throughout the world who will be aided this year by the funds raised by the United Jewish Appeal, will get that help through the Joint Distribution Committee, Its imaginative, comprehensive services in many fields have gone far to wipe out the despair and destruction which was European Jewry’s legacy from the Hitler years.”