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Sharp Slash in Jewish Agency Budget As Fund Raising Goals Not Reached

Fund raising targets for Israel this year were the highest in history, a total of $600 million from world Jewry. The targets will not be met, however, even though the results will be excellent. By the end of the present campaign year this fall some $322 million will have been raised, second only to the record $360 million figure collected during the Six-Day War period. This was reported here by Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal.

Nevertheless, the report noted, the drop in expectations has necessitated drastic cuts in the Jewish Agency budget which was based not only on the expectations but on real and pressing needs. As a result the overcrowding in Israeli hospitals will not get better and in many cases will get worse, maintenance of children in institutions will be reduced, and the expansion of day care centers for pre-kindergarten children of working mothers will be drastically reduced.

In addition, the Israel government will have to spend at least $120 million more for new water Projects in agricultural settlements and for vitally needed immigrant housing which it had expected to get from the Jewish Agency, the report stated.

BUDGET CUT 30 PERCENT

In all, the $600 million budget of the Jewish Agency for 1971/72 will be reduced by a total of $184,714,285, a cut of some 30 percent. The United Jewish Appeal which is responsible for fund raising on behalf of Israel in the United States expects to raise $222 million compared with its target of $400 million. The Keren Hayesod which is responsible for fund raising in 71 other countries throughout the world anticipates an income of $100 million this year compared with its goal of $200 million. The estimates are considered reliable since most of the fund raising campaigns for the present year have been completed, the report noted.

The largest single cut out of the total $185 million reduction will be in housing for new immigrants. Here some $110 million will be eliminated marking a drastic 57 percent reduction in the 1971/72 budget. Similarly, the government may have no choice but to take up the slack in the Jewish Agency’s $11 million cut for new water projects in outlying settlements, and in the $13 million cut for vocational training of new immigrants, for hot meals for underprivileged school children and for aid to pre-kindergarten day care centers for children of working mothers.

Continuing, the report stated that in human terms, a budget cut of $110 million in housing can spell disaster for Israel’s entire immigrant absorption program since this would mean some 5,500 housing units less than required during the coming year. This is almost half of the housing units required for the more than $50,000 immigrants expected this year, not to mention the thousands of underprivileged Israelis who have been pressing, sometimes violently, for improved housing conditions. An $11 million cut in water projects for outlying settlements could mean economic stagnation for some 30 struggling settlements on the Lebanese border and their possible abandonment by many veteran settlers.

SQUEEZE WILL AFFECT UNDERPRIVILEGED

In the case of hot lunches for underprivileged school children, the proposed cut could eliminate this important item for 10,000 children during the course of an entire year. For most of them this is the only not meal they receive during the day, not

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