ATLANTA (Nov. 17)
Five areas of Jewish concern where situations have reached – or are approaching – crisis proportions and which require urgent measures were treated in a series of resolutions adopted here yesterday at the closing sessions of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds’ 37th General Assembly. The areas are: The Middle East, where according to speakers Israel is facing the greatest threat to its survival since the June, 1967 war; American cities, where racial conflicts and growing Negro anti-Semitism is testing Jewish resolve to participate in the struggle for civil rights; the American Jewish community; faced with alienated or indifferent youth and serious criticism of its educational programs; Eastern Europe where renewed anti-Semitism in Poland and continued cultural and religious repression in the Soviet Union pose now perils to Jewish survival; and the Arab countries where Jewish communities are apparently being held as political hostages in the struggle with Israel.
A key resolution on 1969 fund-raising which delineated these areas of concern gave no quota figures. But speakers in the discussion that followed called for a $200 million target for 1969 – more than double the estimated total to be raised in 1968. The resolution called on every contributor to increase his gift to the regular drive of his community federation or welfare fund and to give “more than ever before” to the Israel Emergency Fund of 1969. This was underlined by Edward Ginsberg, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, who told a panel on overseas needs that “at no time since the Six-Day War has Israel’s mettle been so severely tested, have her people faced such bold threats to their survival, has the nation been pushed so close to the brink of war.”
Louis J, Fox of Baltimore was re-elected for a third term as president of the CJFWF at the closing session Sunday. Morris Glasser, Chicago; Lawrence E. Irell, Los Angeles; and Morris L. Levinson, New York, were re-elected vice-presidents. Also elected to that post were Irving Blum, Baltimore; Irving W. Rabb, Boston; Hyman Safran, Detroit; Samuel J. Silberman, New York; and Ray D. Wolfe, Toronto. Mrs. Joseph Cohen, New Orleans, was re-elected secretary, and Edwin Rosenberg, New York, was elected treasurer.
FISHER URGES DEEPER INVOLVEMENT IN SOLVING URBAN CRISIS
A plea for deeper Jewish involvement in solving America’s urban crisis was voiced by Max M. Fisher of Detroit who served as President-elect Richard M. Nixon’s consultant on urban affairs during the recent Presidential campaign. He said that Negro anti-Semitism “does not give the Jews any excuse to withdraw from the battle for equal rights and Negro justice.” If Jews “truly believe that advancing social justice is a Jewish obligation, there can be no lingering doubts that helping people in the inner city does represent a genuine Jewish commitment.”
The resolution on the urban crisis warned that the deteriorating situation in the cities presented a serious threat to American democratic institutions that would not be solved by “polarization of prejudices by extremists” nor by Congressional cut-backs of essential programs. The resolution called for the full implementation of the report by the President’s Commission on Civil Disorders and stressed that programs undertaken by Jewish agencies were “expressions of fundamental Jewish purpose and commitment.”
The resolution on the Middle East welcomed the “steadfast and consistent American rejections of proposals which would recreate the dangerous circumstances which led to the 1967 war.” It commended President Johnson’s Sept. 10 call for a “real peace of justice and reconciliation” and welcomed President-elect Nixon’s “vigorous and forthright declarations reaffirming the traditional U.S. commitment to the security and peace of Israel.” The resolution stressed that “an Arab-Israel peace settlement must continue to be the major objective of American policy in the Middle East.”
Another resolution adopted at the closing session of the General Assembly warned of the “accelerated lose of Jewish commitment among Jewish youth on bur college campuses” and said there is a need to “come to grips with…the alienation of many Jewish faculty members of the university community from our traditional Jewish institutions and from the values which these institutions seek to preserve and enhance.” In a related area, the Assembly passed a resolution calling for strengthening Jewish education “in quality and effectiveness.” It recommended summer programs to train administrators, consultants and teachers for Jewish schools. Also adopted was a resolution instructing the Council’s new National Committee on Small Cities to continue efforts which, it said, were “making a significant impact to help strengthen Jewish life, organization and services in the 125 smallest member communities.”
The General Assembly earlier heard a plea to the American Jewish community to give top priority to the 1969 Israel Emergency Fund campaign of the UJA. The appeal was contained in a message signed by Aryeh L. Pincus, Jewish Agency chairman, and endorsed by Zeev Sharef, Israel’s Finance Minister. The delegates gave a standing ovation to Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., who declared that Israel would continue to grow and develop despite the burdens of maintaining security in the absence of peace. Gen. Rabin gave a somber assessment of peace prospects. He said it did not appear that Egypt or the Soviet Union wanted peace and that any other Arab state that was inclined to reach a settlement was thereby precluded from doing so. Gen. Rabin said he believed the Soviet Union’s position in the Middle East depended on continued tension in the area because it could not compete with the Western nations in programs of assistance and building which would follow the establishment of peace. He stressed that Israel did not want war but that in the absence of immediate prospects of peace, Israel had to prepare for a new war. “If there is another war,” he said, “it will be ended in the same way as the Six-Day War.”
GLASSER SAYS LCBC PLANS TO DEVELOP ‘FAIR SHARE’ FORMULAS WITH AGENCIES
Morris Glasser, chairman of the Large City Budgeting Conference, (LCBC), announced at the plenary session Sunday that the LCBC was planning to work with several national service agencies in developing “fair share” formulas on which community allocations to these agencies should be based. The LCBC is a cooperative activity of the 25 largest Federations and Welfare Funds, which reviews the budgets of 15 national agencies and make recommendations on support to the communities.
Mr. Glasser, who told the session that a special committee is currently reviewing LCBC procedures, said the objective should be to provide reports to the communities not solely on an agency by agency basis but to relate specific problems which concern the communities to the programs and policies of the national agencies. He stressed that “LCBC must be the means of conveying to the communities their responsibility to support those national agencies which have and will continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in meeting and carrying out their obligations.”
Mr. Glasser noted that LCBC had completed 20 years of service to the community. He declared that it had made “a real contribution to American Jewish philanthropy, in helping to bring about desirable reforms in financial management, in developing sounder and more rational fiscal planning, in providing better and more informative reporting to the communities, and in achieving an improved atmosphere of reasonable and sympathetic understanding between national agencies and the communities.”
GIVES SOMBER ASSESSMENT OF JEWISH NEEDS OVERSEAS
An increase in the cost of living in France following the summer disturbances there has aggravated the situation of needy Jews in France, intensifying the Jewish relief problem in Europe and the Middle East which already had been seriously aggravated by conditions created by the Six-Day War and the recent political upheavals in Eastern Europe, the General Assembly was told.
Addressing a session on overseas needs, Samuel L. Haber, executive vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, painted a dark picture of Jewish overseas needs. He said that the JDC had not been able to deal adequately with the emergency situation following the political upheavals in Poland and Czechoslovakia and the conditions created by the Six-Day War, all of which had added to the Jewish refugee problem. He said funds from ongoing programs had to be diverted to meet the needs of 2,000 Jews from Poland and 4,000 Jewish refugees from Czechoslovakia. Mr. Haber also reported that more than 20,000 Jews from Morocco and Tunisia had entered France since the Six-Day War and that the 60 cents a day food allowance they received from French agencies supported by the JDC had been inadequate even before increases in the French cost of living followed last summer’s disorders. He cited needs for intensified relief programs in Morocco, Tunisia, Rumania and France, as well as for expanded Malben services in Israel, adding that in 1968, “thousands of Jews throughout the world were denied the help they needed.”
Gaynor I. Jacobson, United Hias Service executive vice-president, told the Assembly that the present “major areas of concern are Jews leaving Czechoslovakia, Egypt and Poland.” He said that more than 1,500 refugees had applied to the Hias office in Vienna for emigration help and that more than 800 of them had already been resettled in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe and Australia. Of the 700 still awaiting aid, 300 want to settle in the U.S., he said. Mr. Jacobson also reported that more than 500 Egyptian Jewish refugees in Europe were being aided in making resettlement plans, mainly in the U.S. He said that 439 Egyptian Jews were settled in the U.S. during the first 10 months of 1968. He reported that fewer than 1,500 Jews remained in Egypt. He said 225 heads of families were interned in Egyptian jails and reported that the anti-Semitic campaign in Poland had “triggered a whole new wave of Jewish migration.” He disclosed that 1,800 Polish Jews had arrived in Vienna in the past eight months and that Hias will have resettled 400 of them by the end of this year. He added that “there is every reason to believe that the 20,000 to 25,000 Jews remaining in Poland also will choose to emigrate.”