NEW YORK (Sep. 10)
Israel Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, arriving here today, lost no time and addressed this morning more than 100 top leaders of the United Jewish Appeal gathered from all parts of the country urging them to step up an extraordinary collection drive to raise $70,000,000 in cash funds against campaign pledges, and to take other measures to increase the UJA campaign income.
The special meeting of the top UJA leaders, representing the drive’s officers and members of its policy-making National Campaign Cabinet, was called by Joseph Meyer-hoff, UJA general chairman, and was held at the Savoy Hilton Hotel. Mr. Eshkol reported at the meeting that immigration to Israel thus far in 1962 has been so heavy, that the country may end the year with the greatest number of immigrants it has received in a decade.
Straining to keep up with the heavy flow of immigration, Israel is attempting to build 2,000 new housing units monthly, Mr. Eshkol disclosed. “But the pressure has been so great,” he added, “we have been forced to put newcomers into housing which in many cases lacks water, light, sanitary arrangements, even internal walls, so long as we can give them a roof over their heads, We are not doing this because we want to, but because lack of funds and time make it impossible for us to meet the problems of this massive immigration in as orderly a fashion as we would prefer. “
The largest number of Israel’s immigrant housing units are going up in the country’s 20-odd new-type development towns, Mr. Eshkol reported. Where once most immigrants were sent directly from ship to agricultural farm villages, today’s newcomers go to new towns which are, or are planned to be, centers of industrial activity. “We are determined to continue to produce a minimum of 2,000 decent housing units a month for our newcomers, ” Mr. Eshkol said. “Never, we hope, will we have to resort again to housing our immigrants in tent cities and tin huts as we did in the peak years when the pace of immigration was greater than our means. “
The people of Israel, he revealed, are meeting two-thirds the costs of immigration absorption in the form of extra taxes and compulsory loans. “But even with these, they cannot meet the problem alone. They must depend on world Jewry, primarily American Jewry, to provide the funds to meet the other third of these vast immigration and absorption expenditures.”
WARBURG REPORTS ON J.D.C. AID TO ALGERIAN REFUGEES IN FRANCE
The UJA leaders were also briefed about another area of extreme Jewish need by Edward M. M. Warburg, UJA honorary chairman, and chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee. The JDC leader reported that the entry into France of more than 150,000 Jewish refugees from North African countries in the last 18 months has put tremendous burdens upon his organization and French Jewish welfare bodies.
Mr. Warburg praised the French government for the extensive assistance it is giving to the new refugees, who include 80,000 from Algeria. He said, however, even for those who do receive French welfare aid such as the Algerian Jews, there are extensive needs of a Jewish religious and communal nature which must be met from Jewish sources. Meanwhile, thousands of refugees from Tunisia and other North African areas must look largely to JDC and French Jewish welfare bodies for basic help. To meet the situation in France, the JDC has allocated $3,250,000 for refugee aid there in 1962.
Mr. Warburg also revealed that the JDC has had to establish an office in Algiers for the purpose of directing and providing welfare aid and social services which were formerly dispensed through local Jewish welfare agencies. In addition to France, the JDC provides welfare and other assistance to needy Jews in 25 countries, and conducts a specialized medical and rehabilitation program through a network of institutions on behalf of sick, aged and handicapped immigrants in Israel.
The UJA leaders voted to step up a collection campaign to raise a minimum of $70,000,000 in 1962 for transmittal to its major beneficiaries–the Jewish Agency for Israel which is responsible for the reception and resettlement of Jewish immigrants in Israel and the Joint Distribution Committee. More than half of this sum had been raised to date, it was reported by Israel D. Fink of Minneapolis, UJA National Cash Collection chairman. He urged the UJA leaders to “bend every effort to raise $34,000,000 during the four months remaining to this year. “
PLANS FOR U.J.A. 25TH ANNIVERSARY ANNOUNCED; LEHMAN HEADS COMMITTEE
Plans to observe the United Jewish Appeal 25th Anniversary year in 1963 were also announced by Mr. Meyerhoff, UJA general chairman. The UJA’s anniversary committee which will be headed by former Governor Herbert H. Lehman as honorary general chairman, will foster commemorative observances of UJA’s silver Jubilee and American Jewry’s humanitarian achievements in an era marked by both great Jewish tragedy and rebirth, Mr. Meyerhoff said.
Mr. Meyerhoff, who will serve as chairman of the 25th Anniversary Executive Committee, said that, during the last quarter of a century, the UJA raised nearly $1,400,000,000, rendered survival aid to 3,000,000 Jews, and transferred and resettled 1,500,000 Jews including 1,200,000 who settled in Israel.
Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, UJA executive vice-chairman, informed the conference that the first scheduled event in the observance of the 25th anniversary year would be a Study Mission to Europe and Israel from October 15 to November 2. The mission participants will be UJA’s top leaders, including its officers, members of its campaign cabinet and chairmen of major local community campaigns. The anniversary observances will be launched formally at the UJA annual conference to be held December 7-9 in New York City, according to Rabbi Friedman.
Plans to observe the UJA’s 25th anniversary are also being formulated by an Israel committee under the leadership of Moshe Sharett, former Prime Minister, as well as in many European communities which were revived with the aid of UJA funds.