NEW YORK (Feb. 24)
Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the American Section of the World Zionist Organization, last night promised American Jews emigrating to Israel that they will have “the continued interest and support of those you left behind.” Speaking to some 100 persons at the concluding session of the Sixth Annual National Convention of the Association of Americans and Canadians for Aliya (AACA) at the Sabra East, and Israeli night club, Mrs. Jacobson declared that the American Jewish community has realized that its most important members are those who go on aliya.
Murray Safran, who was re-elected president of the AACA, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that now for the first time the American Jewish community is beginning to recognize the importance of aliya and is backing it. The two-day convention marked the beginning of “Aliya Month” in the United States and Canada. A national aliya conference has been scheduled in New York for March 1-2 headed by Pinhas Sapir, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives.
At last night’s session, Mrs. Zena Harmon, a former member of the Knesset, urged the potential immigrants to help combat the Arab propaganda which is distorting the aims of Zionism. She also urged them to go to Israel with humility ready to become part of the country and contribute their skills to it.
ALIYA IS BASIC TO ZIONISM, ISRAEL
Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, speaking Saturday night at the opening session at the America-Israel Friendship House which was attended by 300 persons, declared: “What motivates us to be here and to be part of AACA is that we’re being driven to our Jewish destiny…not physically, but spiritually.” Mrs. Faye Schenk, president of the American Zionist Federation, noted that the AACA is the “only organization that you join in order to leave.” She said the primary purpose of Zionism is aliya.
David Rivlin, Israel’s Consul General in New York, declared that “there is no raison d’etre to the Jewish State of Israel without kibbutz galuyot (ingathering of exiles) and aliya.” Rivlin said that a good number of years were lost in not emphasizing aliya but “especially since the Yom Kippur War, we have realized how much we (in Israel) need Jews.”
Irving Bernstein, executive vice-president of the United Jewish Appeal, told the delegates yesterday morning that “the time is ripe” now for aliya. “We have a receptivity that we never had before.” Explaining how Jewish commitment is developed, Bernstein said, “first they give the money, then they get the education, then the awareness, then the orientation and then they go (to Israel).”
The convention also included practical advice on settling in Israel. There were workshops yesterday on practical and ideological aspects of Jewish immigration, special projects for individuals and families planning to emigrate, and a series of audio-visual presentations on immigrant life in Israel. The convention adopted resolutions welcoming the new awareness of the entire American Jewish community towards the importance of aliya, urging the creation of more programs for group aliya, and urging immigration programs for single young people and older people over 50 who still have something to contribute.