NEW YORK (Nov. 28)
Delegates to the four-day annual convention of the National Committee for Labor Israel today presented nearly $1,000,000 worth of cash toward the $5,000,000 goal for the 1966 Histadrut campaign. The goal had been adopted by the convention at an earlier session. The funds will be applied toward the educational and welfare program in Israel sustained by the NCLI in partnership with Histadrut, Israel’s federation of labor.
The convention closed its sessions today with the election of officers and the adoption of resolutions on the discriminations against Jews in the Soviet Union and on Israel’s offer of peaceful coexistence to the Arab nations. Joseph Schlossberg was reelected president of the organization. Rabbi Jacob Weinstein was elected honorary president. Dr. Sol Stein was reelected national executive director; Israel Stolarsky, associate director; and Paul L. Goldman, associate secretary. Isaac Hamlin was reelected as Tel Aviv representative of the National Committee and chairman of the American-Canadian Histadrut Center in Tel Aviv.
In its resolution concerning Soviet Jewry, the convention noted the “government-in-spired persecutions” afflicting Jews in the USSR in the cultural and economic fields. The resolution also noted that, while “there have been mild indications” of recent improvements, the Jews of the Soviet Union are still being denied rights enjoyed by other ethnic groups in the country. The delegates demanded “particularly that Jews be permitted to emigrate to Israel and be allowed to maintain the normal ties of kinship with their fellow Jews throughout the world.”
Another resolution hailed Israel’s progress “despite the antagonistic attitude of Arab rulers in the Middle East.” Asserting that “Israel certainly has the power to defend its borders against the invading bands,” the convention stressed that hundreds of thousands of Jewish workers and “millions” of members of organized labor in this country stand firmly behind Israel. “It is our fervent hope,” the resolution stated, “that the Arab peoples will respond” to Israel’s desire to share progress with its neighbors, so that “a new era of prosperity and well-being” can be opened for all peoples in the Middle East.
The delegates declared their full support to Histadrut’s program for expansion of its “magnificent medical system, its first-rate vocational school network, its nationwide chain of cultural and educational facilities, sports centers, welfare agencies for young and old, and its numerous other activities that help develop the physical and spiritual strength of the working community in Israel.” The resolution called upon every Jew in the United States, Canada and Latin Americas, as well as upon “all liberal and labor elements to join our ranks and to support our drive on behalf of labor Israel.”
HISTADRUT AIMS OUTLINED BY ISRAELI LEADER; SCHLOSSBERG HONORED
In an address to the convention, Yehoshua Levy, treasurer of Histadrut, noted that the original aims of Histadrut, as spelled out at its formation 45 years ago, have not been changed by industrial modernization and by automation. Those goals, he pointed out, still concern themselves principally with “human values, rather than with material” gains. On the other hand, he noted that, on the economic front, Histadrut’s labor-owned enterprises “are more important than in the past.” Last year alone, he reported, Histadrut invested more than $50,000,000 in new capital in economic ventures “which are highly efficient by any economic standards, despite the social philosophy behind them.”
A report on Histadrut’s Afro-Asian Institute in Tel Aviv was delivered by Akiva Eger, director of that institute, who described the progress of courses which have trained nearly 1,000 Afro-Asian experts in trade unionism and labor cooperatives.
Nahum Shamir, Israel’s economic minister to the United States, told the delegates that Israel faces today a threefold economic challenge. Of chief interest, he said, are Israel’s growth of population of 5 percent annually through mass immigration; its very high budget for needed defense; and its rapid rate of economic development which “must be kept up if the gap between exports and imports is to be closed, and Israel is to achieve a self-sustained economy.
One of the highlights of the convention was a testimonial luncheon yesterday in honor of Mr. Schlossberg, the 90-year-old leader who was hailed as a “patriarch of the American labor movement.” The convention also heard detailed plans for the establishment in Israel of Kiryat Segal, a new town commemorating the late Louis Segal, general secretary of the Farband-Labor Zionist Order. He had headed that Jewish fraternal order for 35 years until his death in 1964.
At an earlier session, the convention conducted a commemorative service honoring the late Moshe Sharett, Israel’s former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. He was hailed as “a world statesment” by Ambassador Avraham Harman, Israel’s envoy to Washington, and Pinchas Cruso, honorary president of the Labor Zionist Organization of America.