NEW YORK (Jun. 9)
Two major American Jewish agencies have sharply revised their structure to broaden the base of the American Jewish philanthropic effort on behalf of Jewish immigration and rehabilitation programs in Israel, They are the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc., and the United Israel Appeal, principal beneficiary of the annual United Jewish Appeal Campaign.
Dr. Dewey D. Stone, newly-elected chairman of the consolidated group, announced today that the new body, which will be known as the United Israel Appeal, Inc., consists of a board of trustees of 200 prominent Jewish leaders. Half of this group were selected from names suggested by 64 Jewish communities throughout the United States. The remainder were designated by the Zionist groups who were the original founders of the United Israel Appeal in 1925.
Details of the merger were outlined by Dr, Stone at a special meeting of the new board of trustees held today at the New York Hilton Hotel, He recalled that the United Israel Appeal was established over 40 years ago to help finance the immigration and resettlement of Jewish pioneers in Palestine, and to support the efforts for the upbuilding of a Jewish National Home, After this goal had been attained through the establishment of Israel, on May 15, 1948, UIA funds — which, since 1939 were obtained from the nationwide United Jewish Appeal in the U.S. — became the largest single philanthropic source to help finance the reception and rehabilitation of more than 1, 250, 000 Jewish immigrants who arrived in Israel during the past 18 years.
The second body involved in the consolidation, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc., was established in 1960 for the purpose of allocating the funds made available by the United Israel Appeal for specifically designated philanthropic activities in Israel.
DEWEY STONE EXPLAINS THE MERGER OF THE TWO ORGANIZATIONS
“In effecting the consolidation of these two organizations, we are not merely concerned with the desire to achieve a greater degree of operating efficiency,” Dr. Stone said. “Our concern is not only with budgeting and administration of programs, but with human lives. The more than 1, 250, 000 Jews we helped bring to Israel during the past 18 years represent a unique testimony to Jewish survival and Jewish self-help; yet the job is far from complete. There are still hundreds and thousands of Jews the world over who require resettlement and this, too, is our responsibility.”
Dr. Stone noted that the merging of the two organizations will “enable us to give recognition to the deep concern of the American Jewish contributor for the continued adequate and effective functioning of these vital philanthropic programs, and offer full scope for the participation and involvement of all sectors of American Jewry throughout the country.” He pointed out that, as long as any Jew in need the world over has a right to come to Israel and be assisted in the process of resettlement and rehabilitation “simply because he is a Jew,” every American Jew ought to consider it his moral responsibility to contribute to the cost of receiving and resettling these refugees because he, too, is a Jew.
“It has only been because of this unquestioned commitment to mutual assistance and responsibility that Jews have survived the vicissitudes of the past 2, 000 years of their history,” he declared.
HAMMER REVIEWS ACHIEVEMENTS OF BOTH ORGANIZATIONS
Gottlieb Hammer, executive vice-president of the United Israel Appeal, Inc. reviewed the achievements of the two organizations involved in the merger over the past six years. He reported that, during this period, a total of over 275, 800 persons had been aided through a wide variety of resettlement and rehabilitation services involving a total American contribution of $190, 800, 000.
Among the major items included in this total, Mr. Hammer listed: $54, 774, 000 for transportation and related activities; $37, 194, 000 for reception and initial absorption; $44, 113, 000 for resettlement in agricultural communities; $29, 916, 000 for immigrant housing; $9, 000, 000 for youth care and training; $8, 839, 000 for higher education and related educational and cultural activities; while the balance was spent on administrative services.
Mr. Hammer noted that, despite the extensive and effective network of services financed with these heavy expenditures, the rehabilitation of many of the new arrivals was still far from complete, “The problem of the ‘two Israels’,” Mr. Hammer declared, “the need for educational facilities; the need for added facilities for the care of the aged and the sick — these are some of the deficits in our activities which can no longer be swept under the rug.”
Dr. Emanuel Neumann, member of the Jewish Agency executive and honorary chairman of the Zionist Organization of America, reviewed the history of the United Israel Appeal from its inception in 1925, He noted that the UIA had served not only to unify Zionist fund-raising efforts and subsequently to pave the way for increasing participation of non-Zionist elements in its leadership, but that in joining with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, in establishing the United Jewish Appeal it had become a partner in setting up “the most comprehensive and constructive agency in American Jewish life.”
RABBI FRIEDMAN SEES NEW ORGANIZATION AS AID TO U.J.A. IN COMMUNITIES
Rabbi Herbert A, Friedman, executive vice-chairman of the UJA, expressed his confidence that the new organization will help strengthen the work of the UJA in Jewish communities throughout the country. He reported that the UJA campaign was steadily moving upward. Receipts in 1965 were $3, 000, 000 ahead over 1964, and there were good chances for a substantial further increase in 1966, he said.
He pointed out that the reason for these increases might be found, at least in part, “in the realization on the part of the contributor that German reparations payments to Israel have been completed and that we must make up for the loss of this source from which part of the resettlement programs could be covered.” In addition, he noted that “American Jews become increasingly aware of the many difficult problems involved in absorbing immigrants who arrive in such large numbers.”
He stressed that these absorption problems — including social welfare; improvement of living quarters; youth services, etc. — will continue to be the focus of the UJA campaign in 1967. “I anticipate that these are the problems which will occupy more and more the attention of our leadership,” Rabbi Friedman declared. “And I am happy to know that, through the new structure of the UIA, our reservoir of such attentive leadership will be broadened and strengthened.”
KANE LAUDS MERGER ON BEHALF OF C.J.F.W.F.
Irving Kane, chairman of the overseas service committee of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, expressed his deep gratification with the merger which had been worked out by the two organizations in close cooperation with the Council. Noting that now “our concern must be with people who depend on this new organization structure,” he declared: “This can be a highly effective body, therefore, if it deals creatively and profoundly with the substantive problems involved in immigration, absorption, education and related needs.”
“Since we provide only a portion of the funds needed for these programs,” Mr. Kane said, “we can best discharge our responsibilities by concentrating on those which will have the greatest significance for the American Jewish contributor and which will have the greatest impact on human needs.” He stressed that the new organization “will be responsible for the wise and effective use of funds it receives from the UJA” and concluded: “It follows then that each of us must fulfill his utmost responsibility to help UJA raise all that is required.”