JERUSALEM (Feb. 3)
Diaspora Jewish leaders left Israel Friday after the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting which closed with an urgent appeal to the world Jewish community for $350 million in cash by the June 16 Agency assem- bly meeting. Moshe Rivlin, the Agency’s director general, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency the need for cash was “urgent.” He said the needs were principally for immigrant absorption and for welfare aid to Israeli citizens. He recalled that 15,000 olim had arrived since the Yom Kippur War. Many of them were still in absorption centers since apartment building construction had slowed. This meant extra expense in keeping them in the centers, along with an urgent need to find them work, apart from the need to build apartments as fast as possible with building costs rising all the time.
The Agency’s welfare and health services to needy Israelis have been affected by the soaring cost of living in Israel. Many new families, their breadwinners in the army for long months have joined the Agency’s list of recipients of various aid. The call for $350 million in cash within four months was an urgent appeal to concretize pledges to meet pressing immediate needs. The sum is outside the $1.25 billion target set by the Board of Governors to be raised within 18 months following April, 1974. A separate $1.4 billion commitment was pledged during the Yom Kippur War.
The United Jewish Appeal and Keren Hayesod fund raisers will be approaching contributors in the coming weeks with two messages–Israel’s needs demand that you repeat your wartime pledge–the Jewish Agency’s present situation demands cash now–so please come up with at least some of your pledges in cash as soon as possible.
The UJA and KH reported to the Agency Board of Governors on their efforts to bring as many and as big missions to Israel as possible. UJA executive vice-chairman Irving Bernstein said the first four “jumbo missions” of some 400 people each are to come shortly. This is part of a “jumbo-mission” program intended to bring 5000 Jews to Israel in the coming three months. Keren Hayesod’s Ezra Shapiro said his organization was ferrying over 4-5 smaller missions each week. Both UJA and KH stressed the participation of younger Jewish leaders in their missions.