NEW YORK (Jan. 24)
A restructuring of the ORT operation in Israel to accommodate and better serve about 4000 soon to be demobilized veterans of the Yom Kippur War was announced by Dr. William Haber, president of American ORT, in his report to the 52nd annual conference of the organization opening tomorrow at the Americana Hotel and continuing through Sunday. About 750 delegates are expected to attend. The major address will be delivered by Gen. Chaim Herzog, president of ORT Israel, and military commentator on the Yom Kippur War.
In remarks prepared for the convention. Dr. Haber said: “The Yom Kippur War, and the influx of technically trained Russian immigrants has radically changed the priorities of the ORT operation in Israel. The human fallout of the war requires considerable rethinking. Facilities for veterans at the engineer-technical level will have to prepare themselves for a large influx and all ORT schools in Israel will have to re-order studies and training to conform to the new economic realities.”
Dr. Haber, a former Dean of the University of Michigan and one-time consultant on manpower for the U.S. Secretary of Labor, noted that the war and the “subsequent isolation of Israel from much of the world has pointed up the fact that a country such as Israel, practically devoid of natural resources, must have a highly modern industry to survive. It cannot be too strongly underscored that such economic viability is contingent on the skilled people to run it.”
He pointed out ORT’s role in the retraining of a large segment of the 40,000 Soviet immigrants who have settled in Israel during each of the past two years. “Many of these Russian olim have come to Israel with professional back grounds, and many are university graduates in engineering,” he said. As a result there has come into being a special need for a new kind of ulpan which will give them the vocabulary and knowledge of Israeli technical and industrial practices that will make for their more efficient and speedier absorption into the country’s economic life.
These ulpans, located in 24 absorption centers, conducted by the Institute of Adult Training and operated under the joint auspices of ORT and the Labor Ministry were utilized by 800 new Russian olim in 1973. By mid-1974, they will have a registration of some 2000, Dr. Haber said. He also reported on the new ORT College of Engineering, being built on the Hebrew University campus which will contain schools for nuclear engineering and environmental technology.