NEW YORK (Dec. 14)
The United Jewish Appeal today set the highest goal in its 31-year history. It will seek to raise $250 million in 1970 for humanitarian aid to needy Jews in Israel and in other countries all over the world.
The quarter billion dollar target was announced by Edward Ginsberg, of Cleveland, at the UJA’s annual national conference here. Mr. Ginsberg was re-elected to his third term as the organization’s general chairman. He told the 3,000 delegates that unprecedented levels of philanthropic assistance were necessary to insure Jewish survival in Israel and other lands.
Mr. Ginsberg referred to reports heard by the delegates during the three-day conference concerning the plight of Jews in Communist and Arab countries, where they are oppressed or endangered, and the difficulties that Israel is experiencing in trying to maintain its education, health, housing and other social services. Mr. Ginsberg said, “these reports indicate just how great the need is.”
Israel’s Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, addressing the delegates yesterday, called for a “reaffirmation of Jewish solidarity.” He said, “We know there are millions who share with us the view that if Israel were to fall, 2,000 years of Jewish history would lose their meaning.” He said that with overseas Jewry bearing the burden of Israel’s humanitarian requirements, Israelis “can hold the line everywhere else.”
“The burdens are very great,” Mr. Eban declared. “Perhaps there might be some justification for the belief by some that our shoulders would crumble under the weight of the burden–if we had to bear that burden alone. What they don’t take into account is the galvanizing force of Jewish solidarity.” he said.
The delegates were told that 60,000 new immigrants are expected to arrive in Israel during 1970, many of them without a trade, and others aged and infirm and in need of medical care, housing, education and other vital services. Mr. Ginsberg said that one reason why the UJA was calling on Jews for unprecedented contributions was the size of Israel’s defense budget that will absorb 83 percent of the country’s taxes in 1970. Israelis are taxed at one of the world’s highest rates and they now must carry the largest per capita national debt of any people in the world, Mr. Ginsberg said.
World Jewry will have to provide $500 million in philanthropic aid to meet the humanitarian needs of the 60,000 immigrants expected to come to Israel in 1970 and of the more than 300,000 immigrants of previous years still in need of assistance, Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, executive chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, told the annual conference.
“Our philanthropic dollars will be used as always to pay for the great immigrant absorption programs, including health and welfare and higher education and housing and farming and youth care and much more,” he said.
Rabbi Friedman said that for the Israelis, the “path ahead is clear–war along the Suez Canal, terrorism along the Jordan River, danger of economic collapse–and superhuman effort to absorb new immigrants into the fabric of Israeli society at the same time.”
He also called strong world sympathy for Russian Jewry “a part of that totality of concern which unites all Jews in one tightly-linked brotherhood.” He noted that in 1970, the Joint Distribution Committee, a UJA constituent, would spend $24 million on aid to needy Jews outside the United States and Israel. He said that money would assist more than 300,000 people in such areas of life as care of the aged and the sick, children’s homes and feeding programs.