NEW YORK (Nov. 3)
A goal of $100,000,000 to be achieved over a 10-year period through bequests in wills and assignments of insurance was set here today by the Foundation for the Jewish National Fund.
Announcement of the goal was made at the closing session of the annual assembly of the Jewish National Fund, which has been in session this weekend. Of the $100,000,000 goal, a potential $22,000,000 has already been accumulated, according to Dr. Harris J. Levine, chairman of the Foundation, and Albert Schiff, president of the JNF.
The session also heard that the American Freedom Forest, comprising 2,000,000 trees, has been completed on the slopes of Beitar, near Jerusalem. The forest, designed as a lasting monument to American-Israeli friendship, comprises 50 woodlands, each bearing the name of one of the 50 states in the United States. The forest was launched three years ago by a committee made up of the 50 State Governors, headed by former President Harry S. Truman.
President Kennedy sent a message to the Assembly declaring: “The completion of the American Freedom Forest, which cements the bond between Israel and the United States, and which serves as an important reclamation effort, deserves the support and encouragement which the Assembly can provide.”
TSUR OUTLINES DETAILS OF VAST RECLAMATION PROJECT IN GALILEE
Earlier, the Assembly heard details about the JNF’s vast development and reclamation project in the Central Galilee region of Israel, involving an expenditure of $27,500,000 for the first stage of this undertaking in the next five years. The details were spelled out by Jacob Tsur, world chairman of the Jewish National Fund, who emphasized that the plan, designed to absorb the heavy influx of immigrants to Israel, is “the prime responsibility of the world Zionist movement.”
“It is expected.” Mr. Tsur said, “that, in 10 years’ time, thousands of Jewish families, including new immigrants straight from the ships, and the sons of veteran mountain villagers, will be cultivating their vineyards and fruit orchards inside this region.” He noted that, thus far, since Israel’s rebirth as a nation 15 years ago, “the strategic Galilee region has remained unchanged.”
The plan, he said, calls for the reclamation of 250,000 acres of arid soil near Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria. The plan envisages the building of 35 settlements, eight regional centers, and several new towns by the JNF, Israel’s Ministry of Housing and the agricultural and settlement department of the Jewish Agency. Mr. Tsur indicated that the JNF will be called upon to invest nearly $12,000,000 toward the realization of the Galilee program.
Mr. Schiff, voicing the American JNF’s support of the Galilee program, told the 2,000 delegates and guests attending the Assembly that the Central Galilee plan is “further evidence of our determination to leave no stone unturned in the ceaseless struggle for the defense of the frontiers of the Jewish Homeland. The call goes out to all Jews of the United States,” he said, “to rally around Israel in this crucial hour to mobilize the resources, material and spiritual, of American Jewry behind the State of Israel, to ally themselves on the side of the Jewish State through the Jewish National Fund, to the end that cause of peace and freedom, of which Israel is the foremost representative in the Middle East, may triumph over its adversaries.”
U.S. ASSURES DELEGATES OF PROTECTION OF ISRAEL AGAINST ASSAULTS
A pledge of United States Government policy for the protection of Israel’s “existence, integrity and independence against all assaults” was given the Assembly by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., Under Secretary of Commerce. He said, in his address, be was voicing this “assurance as a member of the Kennedy Administration.” Mr. Roosevelt returned recently from a tour of the Middle East, during which he conferred with both Israeli and Egyptian leaders.
Avraham Harman, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, another of the speakers at the Assembly, expressed high praise for the JNF achievement in Israel. “Those who visit Israel after an interval of years,” he said, “can see the magnificent results of the Fund’s reclamation work, particularly in formerly barren hill country. This has in deed been a great job of restoration. But there is still a great deal to be done. Those who look at the waste places of the Galilee and the Negev, today, find it difficult to imagine that these areas could sustain a flourishing civilization. But the Fund’s, record of achievement cannot doubt its ability to tackle this job.”
Mendel N. Fisher, chairman of the JNF Assembly Committee, and secretary of the Fund, declared that in the “truly epic Galilee Development Plan, we shall behold perhaps the most gigantic project in the history of the grand JNF design to extend the frontiers of the Jewish Homeland within the bounds of Israel through the peaceful and life-giving method of land reclamation. This is a radical departure from the customary procedure of changing frontiers by violence.”
Dr. Joseph P. Sternstein, national JNF director, called on American Jewry “to respond wholeheartedly to the challenge of the New Galilee plan.” Dr. Max Nusshaum, president of the Zionist Organization of America, spoke on political problems.