NEW YORK (Jul. 31)
Yehoshua Yadlin, executive director of the Israel Aliya Center of North America, yesterday outlined plans for an intensified public information campaign in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Yadlin explained the concept behind the new educational program in these words: “The major emphasis in the past has been with those candidates for aliya who approached us; now we want to reach out and make our program known.”
The new public information campaign evolved primarily through the efforts of Pinhas Sapir, former Minister of Finance and present chairman of the Executives of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, and Uzi Narkiss, director general of aliya of the Jewish Agency and the general who led the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967.
The international Aliya Conference on March 2, through the leadership of Sapir and Narkiss, originated two ideas that would give aliya in North America the needed push: an ongoing information program and aliya community councils which have already been established in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit and Miami.
Yadlin indicated that if there is to be an increase in aliya, “you need exposure to life in Israel.” He added “the new educational program lays the foundation for this increase; it defines the concept of life and living in Israel as a meaningful and positive experience.”
BASIC ELEMENTS OF CAMPAIGN
The basic elements of the new public information campaign consist of supporting that portion of the shaliach’s (emissary) role devoted to promoting activities to allow him more time for personal contact between himself and potential and committed new immigrants. A new coast-to-coast department in the Israel Aliya Center will now provide public relations and press services and devise effective means for disseminating information.
Other facets of the campaign are the introduction of field workers to university campuses; the establishment of aliya desks at each school; twice yearly seminars which will portray and detail issues of Israeli life; and continuing contact with students who participated in past events concerning Israel.
Yadlin specified that “the purpose of so much attention on university students is because they represent a significant segment of potential new immigrants.” He revealed that the campaign has the assistance of not only other departments of the Jewish Agency but also of Jewish organizations such as Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements and B’nai B’rith. He stated that these “groups are setting up aliya desks at their headquarters.”
Although the people involved with the campaign view this as a long-range program, Yadlin added. “with aroused Jewish consciousness, people respond immediately and there is better hope for the outcome to be seen shortly.” He concluded by remarking that “we feel that in the process of becoming interested in Israel, more and more Jews will want to make aliya.”