NEW YORK (Jan. 24)
A record budget of $21.840 million was adopted today by the American ORT Federation at its 49th annual national conference here in support of stepped-up program of economic aid and educational and vocational services in Israel and in Jewish communities in 20 other countries. Dr. William Haber, who was re-elected ORT president, declared that this was the “needs budget” to provide essential services to more than 60,000 persons during 1971. The sum approved by more than 600 conference delegates, he stated, was $2 million more than last year and added that this increase would be used primarily for expansion in Israel and for ORT facilities in Iran, France, India and Latin America. Gen, Haim Herzog, president of ORT Israel, announced that the country’s network of more than 75 ORT technical high schools had agreed with the Ministry of Education to enlarge enrollment by at least 7000 more students in the next few years. “This is a major step in the right direction.” Gen, Herzog said, “but there are still tens of thousands of youth who are not yet assured the kind of education that is essential for the nation’s economic survival no less than for its defense.” A completely new program to provide skill training for Arab youth in the West Bank areas and in Gaza will be established by ORT shortly, at the request of the Ministry of Labor and funded by the Israel government, it was announced. Skill training for Arab youth in East Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Abu Ghosh, now conducted by ORT and a new project for Bedouins in the Negev desert, will be enlarged.
In a declaration that could have far reaching implications for the next generation of youth who are served by ORT, the delegates adopted plans that would “redefine ORT’s mission from schools that are fit only for the destitute to an educational system that aims to link Jewish youth to the technological world and to the new opportunities based on comprehensive, science-based skills.” To help implement this goal, the delegates approved plans to establish, jointly with the Hebrew University, a two-year technical college in Jerusalem and projected creation of at least four other technical colleges in Israel, as well as a new school for girls of the Jewish community in Bombay, India, a computer institute for the Jewish youth of Buenos Aires and higher level studies at the ORT schools in Morocco and France. President Nixon singled out technical assistance projects for developing nations conducted by ORT, saying in a message to the conference, “I particularly commend your excellent cooperation with the Agency for International Development in African countries.” There are now such projects in seven African countries, reported Matthew Schoenwald, chairman of American ORT’s Government Contracts Committee, and all such projects are government funded. The Conference designated Dr. Harry H. Epstein of Atlanta, Georgia, its 1971 ORT Man-of-the-Year, and presented Achievement Awards to Dr. Bernard Horn of Chicago, and Nathan Sedley of New Brunswick, New Jersey.