Behind the Headlines Adelman Charts Aliya Course

“Let’s see what happens,” said Albert Adelman of Milwaukee philosophically, in an interview on the work of the Permanent Aliya Committee of the Jewish Agency Assembly, of which he is chairman. The committee will be following up on its discussions and resolutions during the Agency’s General Assembly here, checking in three months and again in six months to see what progress has been made by the Agency, the relevant ministries and other bodies on the string of vital issues examined by the committee.

The American Jewish leader says “we are not waving a big stick. Our attitude is: “What can we do to help?” and the Agency officials themselves accept our interest and advice in this spirit.” He added that “if we see there is no response, we will report back to the Board of Governors but we hope for progress.” Adelman hinted he was pinning high hopes on the new chairman of the Jewish Agency executive and of its aliya and absorption department, Pinhas Sapir, who has a reputation for getting things done.

COMMITTEE DOES NOT MINCE WORDS

The committee did not mince words in its resolutions submitted to the Assembly. The first resolution began with a harsh preamble: “Since many of the problems confronting immigrants are not dealt with adequately…”, and the words “in-adequate” and “not adequate” reappeared in the second and third resolutions dealing with housing and employment for newcomers. The committee called forcefully for closer coordination between the Agency and the various government ministries. “…in order to establish the most effective means for delivering comprehensive, coordinated and dignified services to aid immigrants.”

Adelman’s 80-member committee detected widespread apathy in Israel towards aliya and devised a revolutionary approach to counter this phenomenon. The committee urged that “immigration and absorption” become “a new interdisciplinary academic specialty (in the universities) occupying the same stature as economics, political science or sociology….A special task force should be developed by the Jewish Agency to develop such a program.”

NATION-WIDE CAMPAIGN PROPOSED

Further, and on a more general level, the committee recommended “a national public effort and educational campaign to mobilize opinion in Israel” on the importance of aliya to the State and its people. Here, too, the committee envisaged a leading role for the Jewish Agency, which “should take the initiative…to mount such an expanded effort.” The media, schools, women’s groups, professional organizations and youth movements should all be encompassed in this massive new effort, the committee urged.

Adelman explained his committee’s sensitivity awareness, In fact expertise in aliya and absorption matters by its composition and by the work which its five sub-committees put in on a year-round basis. Recent olim, from Russia and from the West and the East, are among the committee’s membership. They are drawn from a broad cross-section and are able to depict graphically the various problems confronting the young, the aged, the single, the professional and all the various categories of immigrants.

Adelman, a member of the Board of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, was appointed chairman last January and the sub-committees were set up in March. Working under his coordination, they prepared detailed and accurate reports, based on expert evidence and their own observations in the field, on such aspects of klita as social services, klita of the elderly, absorption centers, loans for olim, etc., which the full committee was able to study in advance of the June Assembly meeting. The severely practical and relevant resolutions were the result–and Adelman sees these as “only the beginning.” The committee will now continue, with follow-up and constant re-examination of the problems and suggested solutions.

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