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UJA Operation Israel Student Mission an Experiment in Jewish-arab Understanding

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“An important experiment in understanding” is the way one Arab student described an informal meeting of American and Arab students at the San Josef Arab Hostel in Jerusalem, it was reported here today by the United Jewish Appeal. The 72 Americans, members of a special UJA Operation Israel student mission, are in Israel to study the problems and needs of the people of Israel at first-hand. The group has visited immigrant absorption centers in Ashdod and Bat Yam, toured rehabilitation centers and old age homes operated by the Joint Distribution Committee’s Malben program, and several other institutions and services supported by UJA funds. The visiting American students are all young Jewish leaders from 41 college campuses throughout the United States. Their discussions with Arab students ranged from the basic similarities of human needs of all people, to the more controversial questions of the Palestine refugees and the attacks of Arab terrorists on civilian settlements. Shmuel Toledano, advisor to the Prime Minister on Arab Affairs, told the American visitors that in 1948, 95 percent of the Arabs of Israel were illiterate; today there are 800 Israeli Arabs in universities, and 88,000 attending Israeli secondary schools. He also stated that the economic and cultural situation of these Arabs is the best in the Middle East. This special UJA Operation Israel mission was organized by the Student Coordinating Committee of the Israel Emergency Fund. The Committee is headed by six students who are helping to initiate new campus programs for developing potential Jewish leaders on college campuses, and stimulating student interest in the humanitarian programs supported by the UJA.

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