ATLANTA, (Jun. 28)
The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council is engaged in a collaborative effort with the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds and the National Jewish Welfare Board in a study to determine the security and socioeconomic problems that affect Jews in urban centers, delegates to the organization’s annual plenary meeting were told here last night at the closing session. The inquiry is seeking to determine information about the physical safety of Jews, the needs of Jewish merchants in violence-prone areas, the incidence of crime and vandalism affecting synagogues or other Jewish institutions and the special problems of elderly Jews, the NJCRAC said. In a policy statement adopted by the nine national organizations and the 90 local community councils. affiliated with the NJCRAC, the agency recommended that organized efforts be made by the heavily suburban Jewish communities for more active involvement in programs to restore the viability of the nation’s troubled cities. The statement proposed that Jewish groups participate in forging coalitions of “disadvantaged minorities, apprehensive ‘ethnics’ and suburbanites” as a political force to compel federal and state governments-to initiate reforms that could “rescue our cities” “The suburbs can not survive the collapse of the cities,” the NJCRAC statement said, “Their affluence is dependent on the cities. Their peace cannot be secured against spreading disorder and crime. “The statement cautioned that while mass violence and other disorders in the inner cities have diminished in the past year, “the surface calm may be more ominous than reassuring.” It added that “by every objective criterion, the plight of the cities has worsened.”
In recommendations on the Middle East, the plenary noted that the ” great reservoir” of good will among Americans toward Israel, while still preponderant, has been ebbing since the 1967 war. That development was attributed in part to the unpopularity of the Vietnam war which, compiled with mounting tension in the Middle East, has increased American anxiety about possible U.S. military intervention in the Mideast. The national Jewish agencies called for expanded and intensified “interpretive efforts” by the Jewish community relations agencies in behalf of Israel’s “right to exist in security” and for U.S. support of Israel’s defense “with arms and economic means.” In action dealing with the problem of Soviet Jewry, the NJCRAC called on the U.S. government to “inject into conversations and negotiations” with the Soviet Union the question of discrimination against Jews and the suppression of Jewish religious and cultural expressions. It also called for continued public efforts by the Jewish community to dramatize the issue.