NEW YORK (Jan. 26)
More than 500 delegates to the 47th national conference of the American ORT Federation (Organization for Rehabilitation Through Training) approved a record $17 million budget here yesterday which will aid over 50,000 persons in 23 countries. The new budget represents a $1.8 million increase over last year’s budget.
Dr. William Haber, Federation president, said that one of the principal beneficiaries would be the network of ORT schools in Israel. He said that with a small population and surrounded by enemies, Israel could not afford “to close one-fifth of its young generation, for lack of training for the places they will hold.” He said ORT planned to establish Israel’s first institution of practical engineering in Jerusalem.
Delegates heard Dr. Vladimir Halperin, World ORT Union director, report that “successive waves of refugee immigration in the last 15 years have more than doubled the Jewish population of France to over 550,000.” He noted that almost 25,000 North African Jews had come to France since the Six-Day War and announced plans to oper additional ORT schools and training facilities for them. He also said that work would soon begin in Bombay on a technical school for girls, supplementing the present program for boys. He foresaw a need to intensify services for the Jews of Iran to “ameliorate age-old and still rampant poverty.” In an extension of its technical assistance services, ORT expects to create facilities in Guinea, West Africa for training of 1,000 skilled workmen and technicians, it was reported by Matthew Schoenwald, chairman of the organization’s government contracts committee. A group of United States Peace Corps volunteers has completed training at the Central ORT Institute in Switzerland for assignment to the Ivory Coast in West Africa. He cited these as examples of ORT projects for developing nations under contracts to the U.S. Government.
The conference received a message from President Richard M. Nixon who hailed the international endeavors of ORT as “an important contribution to bettering the lot of fellow men.” Sen. Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, who delivered the principal address, urged a “joint U.S.-USSR initiative” to bring about meaningful Israel-Arab negotiations. He called on the U.S. to probe the possibilities for an agreement “in concert with the USSR” whose aim would be to establish “new instructions, a new framework for the mission of Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring,” the United National special envoy to the Middle East. He suggested that Britain and France become associated with these measures.
Sen. Javits was honored for 20 years of service on ORT’s advisory committee and board of directors.