JERUSALEM (Sep. 8)
The Jewish Agency executive ended today a plenary session at which a draft budget for 1967-68 of slightly more than $100,000,000 was adopted and a decision approved to reorganize the executive’s departments by reducing them from the present 16 to eight or nine. The budget for the current year was $120,000,000.
Aryeh L. Pincus, chairman of the executive, told a press conference today that the basic aspect of the budget was a refusal to increase the Agency’s debts. The budget will be balanced, he declared.
He said that, to achieve a balanced budget, the executive decided on a number of measures. Among them are cancellation of a 9,000,000 pound ($3,000,000) annual subsidy which the Agency used to pay for non-political constructive work done by the various political parties in the field of absorption of immigrants. A special committee has been set up to examine ways and dates on which the allocation will be cut, he said.
He said the Agency would also examine, on an individual basis, all allocations granted to other bodies not affiliated usually with the Zionist Organization. Such allocations currently total about 8,000,000 pounds ($2,700,000). Most of these allocations go to cultural and educational organizations, such as the Weizmann Institute of Science and a number of universities. The special committee will examine this outlay closely to ensure its reduction.
The question of whether the reorganized Agency departments will total eight or nine depends on whether the two departments on education — general and religious — will be merged into one. The special committee has been assigned the task of deciding this question and a final decision is expected before the next Agency plenary session starting Jan. 4.
Another major problem of the plenary was the question of stimulating immigration from western countries. Mr. Pincus said that “the entire future of the Jewish State depends to a considerable degree on this issue.”
A special joint Government-Agency committee, headed by Mr. Pincus and Israel Labor Minister Yigal Allon, was set up to examine concrete applications of recommendations discussed in the joint coordinating body. The main subjects the joint committee will examine are connections between the Government and Agency bodies and the possibility of establishing a joint authority for immigrants.
Mr. Pincus summed up the results of the plenary in these words: “The problems which we had to examine were among the most difficult we ever faced. It was a difficult but good meeting.” He also said that the Agency had decided to coopt in his personal capacity Rabbi Leon Feuer of Hazelton, Pa., a leading figure of American Reform Judaism.