NEW YORK (Dec. 15)
Leon Dulzin, treasurer of the Jewish Agency, said that Israel is short $3 billion to cover the costs of the Yom Kippur War. The total cost of that war, Dulzin said, was $8 billion. Addressing an overflow crowd of the United Jewish Appeal 1975 National Conference at the New York Hilton, Dulzin stated Friday that Israel still “suffers from the consequences of the last war.” (See related UJA stories P. 2 and 4.)
“We are not only in a post-war period,” he said, “we are also in a pre-war period.” Noting that there is a possibility of a new war in the Mideast, he said that Israel spends 35 percent of its GNP on defense, the highest percentage in the world. “The burden is heavy, it is difficult, but we are strong. The morale is high,” he said, adding that Yasir Arafat’s speech at the UN did not discourage the Israelis but rather made them angry and more determined.
Turning to the problem of emigration and absorption of olim in Israel, Dulzin said that despite all the difficulties, Israel’s doors will always be open to any Jews who want to come. “This is the essence of Israel’s existence,” he observed, recalling the Nazi era when Jewish refugees could not find a haven. He said that the burden of immigrants is “a great privilege and any Jew should consider it a matter for great joy.” He predicted that as many as 75,000 new immigrants will come to Israel in 1975 from all over the world, including the Soviet Union.
Dulzin pointed out that he is aware of the sagging economy in the United States, but said, nonetheless, that “I am sure you (American Jews) will go on helping Israel.” He noted that Israel needs help and financial support more than ever before. “I am encouraged by the support of the Jewish community here,” he said, noting that the Jewish people is united and is like a “family.”