JERUSALEM (Jun. 22)
The 300delegates to the Jewish Agency’s fourth annual Assembly were returning to their homes all around the world today after adopting resolutions expressing world Jewry’s unity with Israel, concern for the plight of Soviet Jewry and pledging to intensify the fight against the Arab boycott, to promote aliya and to work to build a model Jewish society in Israel. The Assembly concluded with a declaration that “We pray for a just and lasting peace in the Mideast, We go forward with the traditional Jewish blessing: ‘Ufross aleinu succat shlomecha’ (Spread over us the tabernacle of your peace.)”
Max Fisher of Detroit, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, told the closing session of the Assembly Thursday night, that in the past difficult year, “We saw and learned some great and heartwarming truths, first and foremost that Israel is here to stay.” Fisher said the people of Israel have remained “strong in heart, and will and vision.”
ISRAEL HAS MANY FRIENDS
The difficult period through which the Jewish people is going has tested the partnership in the reconstituted Jewish Agency, Fisher said. “It is my firm belief that we have passed the test that this Agency had proved itself to be united, viable and forward looking,” he declared, Fisher asserted that the future appears better than most people think since Israel has many friends, especially in the United States, but also elsewhere. He said the Jewish Agency, after completing first the reconstitution, then the understanding of it; and now has entered the third stage, that of planning. He said the goal for the next five years is to bring an increase in immigration, close the social gap, create a permanent solution to the housing problem, and strengthen the ties between Israel and “its only true ally– the Jews of the world.”
Noting that 30 years after the Holocaust the Jewish Agency was meeting in Jerusalem concerned about the quality of life in Israel and the need for spiritual enrichment in the diaspora, Fisher declared: “We have certainly come a long way, and it may take another generation to attain all our objectives. For even 50 years of Jewish history is a short span of time,” he concluded.
The delegates to the Assembly adopted a $541.9, million budget for the fiscal year which began April 1, a budget $150 million below that presented last year. Jewish Agency treasurer Leon Dulzin said earlier that the budget was based on expected income rather than on need which would have required another $160 million. However, the resolution by the budget committee led off with a pointed demand that the Board of Governors’ standing committee on budget and finance be presented with the budget “at least two months prior to the beginning of each fiscal year.” There was also reportedly some grumbling by budget committee members who felt they were presented at the assembly with a fait accompli in the form of a large and complex budget which they hardly had time to digest and analyze intelligently.
The Assembly adopted a resolution stressing the primacy of the United Jewish Appeal and the United Israel Appeal as the fund-raising instrument for Israel and emphasized the importance of cash contributions. The resolution stated that the UJA and UIA “are the only instruments authorized to raise funds for the basic human needs of Israel and must not be eroded by diversion or competition for funds, times and energies of other drives… All other fund-raising activities must be worked out in each country under the auspices of the UJA or UIA…with the exception of the women’s organizations,” the resolution stated.
ARAB BOYCOTT CONDEMNED
The Assembly resolution on Jewish unity declared admiration for the “superb courage of the people of Israel. Jewry throughout the world stands firmly with the State of Israel and Israel’s struggle for peace and security,” it said. Expressing concern over the continuing harassment and persecution of Soviet Jews, the Assembly declared that “We say to our brothers and sisters in the Soviet Union that the Jews of the free world will intensify their efforts to open the gates, so that they will be permitted to join their brothers and sisters in Israel, We in the Assembly of the Jewish Agency pledge ourselves that all those who come to Israel will be fully absorbed.” To Jews in Arab countries, the delegates said, “We pray that soon we will be able to greet them here, in freedom.”
The Assembly called on Jews throughout the world to combat the Arab boycott and to condemn those who yield to blackmail and place economic and political expediency above inter national morality. The Assembly also condemned terrorists and those who “have condoned this savagery” in the councils of the world. Before leaving Israel today, Fisher told newsmen at Ben Gurion Airport that American Jewry will be called upon to intensify the effort against the Arab boycott, He noted that both the Ford Administration and the American public opposed the boycott.