NEW YORK (Jan. 24)
More than 500 delegates to the 43rd annual national conference of the American Ort Federation today approved a budget of $10,458,000–highest in the organization’s history–for instruction in trade skills for over 41,000 during 1965 in over 600 technical education projects maintained by Ort in 22 countries. The delegates voted allocations of $3,245,000 as the American share of this total.
An agreement with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a member agency of the United Jewish Appeal, providing for a contribution of $1,850,000 toward this, was ratified by the meeting. An additional $1,385,000 is expected from membership income of Women’s American Ort and other affiliated groups. The balance of ORT financing overseas is expected to be met by Ort organizations in other countries, and by contributions from governments and local communities served by Ort activities.
The delegates also gave their approval to a plan to double student enrollment in the Ort vocational and technical schools in Israel. The present student body in these programs is 7,000. There are another 14,000 in Ort adult, apprenticeship and other types of training projects in Israel. The new plan will be spread over a five-year period. First steps will begin with the new school year this coming September. Cost of the program is estimated at $10,000,000, the major part of which will be contributed by the Israel Ministry of Education. The plan was described “as one phase of a general extension of all secondary education in Israel.”
Dr. William Haber, who was re-elected president of the organization, declared that, “if all the other agencies engaged in this work will join in a similar effort, we can project that by 1970, the vocational high school capacity of Israel will begin to approach 50,000, and will open the way to universal access to such schooling by every youngster in Israel so inclined.” He warned, however, that an exceptional effort would be required to meet the Ort financial responsibility under the plan.
HARMAN ADDRESSES SESSION; PRESIDENT JOHNSON LAUDS ORT EFFORTS
Welcoming this new initiative, the Ambassador of Israel, Avraham Harman, told an evening dinner session of the Conference: “The goal must be to eliminate conditions that keep one segment of our people tied to the past, while others move ahead. We are too small a country to be able to afford such disparities. Our education must be planned to prepare large numbers of youth for a productive, working life in industry.”
In a message to the Conference, President Lyndon B. Johnson lauded the technical assistance efforts of the agency’s efforts in the developing nations of Africa. “In cooperation with the Agency for International Development in the establishment of technical and vocational training institutes and the training of indigeneous instructors in the West African countries of Mali and Guinea, American Ort brings its knowledge and experience to the efforts of our government, to assist in the development of new nations,” the Presidential message stated.
Harry Greenberg, chairman of the organization’s Administrative Committee, reported that under the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act provisions for allocation of excess U.S. Government property to voluntary agencies, Ort had received 114 machines and other items of equipment with an initial value of $466,000.
In a tribute to the Joint Distribution Committee, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Adolph Held, chairman of the evening dinner session of the Conference, presented Edward M.M. Warburg, JDC chairman, with a menorah which had been made by students at the Ort Vocational School in Strasbourg, France, bearing the inscription: “To Symbolize the light of hope which the JDC has brought to our people the world over.”