NEW YORK (Dec. 26)
Moshe Sharett, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, said here today that, while the rate of immigration to Israel had tripled in the last four years, the share of the United Jewish Appeal in financing immigration to Israel has remained stationary, with a tendency to a slight decrease.”
Speaking at a press conference at the office of the American Section of the Jewish Agency, here, he said that the growing lag, added to the shortages of previous years, “has resulted in a most acutely tragic backlog of vital requirements unmet, expectations unfulfilled, the process of absorption retarded, chances of better education and higher productivity unutilized, and the burden of indebtedness of the Jewish Agency steadily increasing.”
The former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister came to the United States three weeks ago primarily at the invitation of the UJA to take part, on behalf of the Agency executive, in the annual UJA conference. He also addressed local meetings in New York, Boston and Detroit.
DISCUSSES FUTURE OF AMERICAN ZIONIST COUNCIL, TASKS OF U.S. ZIONISM
Mr. Sharett also reported at the press conference on his participation in consultations among American Zionist leaders on the future of the American Zionist Council. He said it was his understanding that “the component parts of the Zionist movement in this country are firmly resolved to reactivate the Council as the central Zionist body, uniting them all for a common endeavor.” He said he found the leaders of the Zionist organizations “in substantial agreement” on the Council’s “future program of action.”
“According to this consensus,” he said, “the American Zionist Council, operating with an assured budget which is to be provided by its constituent organizations, is to concern itself with the general problems of American Jewish life, formulate a common Zionist policy on the issues arising from time to time, and collectively assert the Zionist viewpoint within the counsels of United States Jewry.”
He said the task of Zionism in the United States was “to assert itself and to exercise influence in Jewish life in all fields–fund-raising and distribution of the funds, education, the synagogue.” Such efforts should be pursued by Zionists as a collective program. He said, in response to a question, that he understood that the Zionist Council was about to elect a new president and a new chairman of its executive committee.
VIEWS ‘DISTORTIONS’ OF RELIGIOUS LIFE IN ISRAEL, ATTACKS ULTRA-ZEALOUS
In reply to another question, Mr. Sharett called efforts to link the recent outbreaks by ultra-Orthodox zealots in Jerusalem and in New York with the problem of religious life in Israel “a distortion.” Jewish religious observance, he said, “has never yet been faced with the task of full compatibility with the needs of a modern state.” If Israel were to heed fully the requirements of the Sabbath day of rest, for example, it would have been impossible, he held, to apply the fruits of modern technology to Israel’s development. There are essential functions which must continue seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, in a modern society, including Israel, he said. However, he added, he believed that many of the related problems had been solved and that the rest could be solved.
He described as “quite another matter” the activities of some 1,000 members of the Neturei Karta, “the enemies of the State of Israel,” who do not pay taxes and who disseminate “venomous propaganda against the State of Israel, feeding mendacious accounts to the press of the world which completely distort the facts.” He called the zealots “riff-raff,” who push their followers to “frenzies of fanaticism to perpetuate any violence,” and who then spread “atrocity stories” about “police brutality.”