Lautenberg Tells CJF Assembly That U.S. Grants to Israel Do Not Lessen Fund-raising Needs

Declaring that United States government grants of even as high as $2.24 billion do not diminish the need for unprecedented fund-raising for Israel in 1976, Frank R. Lautenberg, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, told 3000 community delegates from the U.S. and Canada attending the 44th General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds that Israel desperately needs $600 million of UJA funds next year.

The UJA leader, declaring that “Israel is the heart of the Jewish people,” and that “anti-Zionism is truly anti-Semitic,” said that “the battle for Eretz Israel is being waged internationally through politics–oil–economics–morality–and in the hearts and minds of man.” Lautenberg sought to dispel any thoughts that “American government assistance obviates the need for Jewish giving.” This, he said, “is just as pernicious as the Illusion of peace. American aid is military–security-related tools to deter aggression–necessary to keep Israel strong. Warplanes and missiles can only protect; they cannot create.”

“This American aid will not improve Israel’s standard of living one bit. Not a penny of the proposed $2.24 billion is for humanitarian aid or to raise living conditions for the people of Israel. Remember, only Jewish giving builds life,” he said.

UJA MUST RAISE $600 MILLION IN 1976

Lautenberg pointed out that Israel this year will have to repay $230 million in interest and principal for loans already made. Pointing out the high tax rate in Israel, he said that “Israeli taxes–not our dollars–are repaying the U.S. loans. Israel’s foreign currency debt per capita is $2000, almost four times that of any other country. Their balance of payments deficit will soar to $4.1 billion next year. The debt service will reach $1.3 billion.”

Lautenberg also said “if Congress votes every penny being proposed, Israel will still need another $500 million to cover defense spending in 1976.” As a result of this, Lautenberg said, the UJA must raise $600 million in the 1976 campaign for Israel. “Our goal–if achieved–will only help cover a bare-bones budget,” he said.

The delegates adopted today a resolution on U.S. aid to Israel which declared that inasmuch as “Israel has demonstrated her readiness to make substantial sacrifices in the pursuit of peace by yielding strategically important territory and economic resources to reach a limited agreement with Egypt,” therefore “the United States should now fulfill the commitments undertaken in the course of negotiating that agreement to provide Israel with $2.3 billion in economic and military aid.”

This aid, the resolution continued, “is urgently needed to enable Israel to interpose a credible defense capacity against the threat of further aggression by a hostile Arab world that continues to avow its determination to seek Israel’s destruction.” The resolution also urged Congress “to act affirmatively in 1975 on such economic aid, security supporting assistance and military credits for Israel.”

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