300 U.S. Jewish Community Leaders in Israel on UJA Mission

A three-week-old baby boy was among 150 Soviet immigrants who arrived at Ben Gurion Airport today at the same time that a group of 300 American Jewish community leaders participating in the 1974 United Jewish Appeal Prime Minister’s Mission also arrived. The UJA mission, the largest in UJA history, and led by Paul Zuckerman, UJA general chairman, arrived first to be welcomed by a Tel Aviv school band while other children presented the women with white flowers. When the plane carrying the Soviet immigrants landed, the UJA group went over to welcome them. The new baby won a kiss from Zuckerman. The baby’s father said he wanted his son to be circumcised in Israel.

Zuckerman said it is important that UJA leaders and contributors learn first-hand the situation, problems and aspirations of Israelis. He said in this way they can return to their homes and tell others what are the needs in Israel. Jewish Agency Director General Moshe Rivlin welcomed the UJA mission saying their example will set the tone for the 1975 UJA campaign in the United States.

The mission is scheduled to host former Premier Golda Meir at a dinner tonight. Their schedule also includes visits to the sites of recent tragedy in the development towns of Kiryat Shemona and Maalot, meetings with new members of the Israeli government, and a panel discussion with recent newcomers, including the former Soviet toilet stars Valery and Galina Panov. The mission will close with a reception and dinner with Premier Yitzhak Rabin, who knows many of the mission members personally due to his service as Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.

Before leaving for Israel, Zuckerman said: “The size of this year’s mission is a direct indication of the new level of awareness and concern on the part of American Jewish leadership. We are going to witness for ourselves those areas where our aid can be of real benefit in achieving solutions of human needs. Nearly a year following Yom Kippur 1973, the war has left its mark on all aspects of life in Israel. And we are charged with the task of studying, and meeting the humanitarian needs of a people beset by enormous social and economic problems.”

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