JERUSALEM (Jul. 11)
Yosef Almogi, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives, declared here tonight that the two major challenges that faced Israel and diaspora Jewry were the low rate of immigration and the poor state of Jewish education throughout the free world. He proposed remedial measures. Almogi delivered the opening address at the fifth General Assembly of the Jewish Agency attended by 296 delegates from Israel and abroad and 200 observers.
“Another two million Jews in Israel and our lives would have been changed from end to end and with it the fate of the Jewish people,” Almogi said. He stated that in order to increase aliya an Israeli Department had to be established in each Jewish community abroad which would coordinate three related tasks: the encouragement of tourism to Israel; increase in volunteers; and immigration to Israel. He expressed regret that up to now the dialogue between Israel and the diaspora has been limited to budgets and figures. The time has come to add another dimension to that dialogue, he said.
PROPOSALS ON JEWISH EDUCATION
Almogi deplored the state of Jewish education abroad. He said that out of 1,650,000 Jewish students between the ages of 5-17 in the free world, one million received no Jewish education at all, half a million received only a nominal Jewish education, such as attending Sunday school for a year or two and only 175,000 received a full, proper Jewish education. To remedy this, he proposed the creation of a world-wide Jewish education authority by the Israeli Education Ministry, the Jewish Agency and various Jewish educational organizations throughout the world.
Almogi also demanded a much greater financial effort from world Jewry. He said diaspora Jews should take their example from Israelis who poured in spontaneous contributions to Israel’s defense forces following the rescue raid in Uganda. Almogi, welcoming the delegates, said: “The Jewish Agency Assembly is one of the expressions for the perpetuation of dialogue between Israel and the entire Jewish people.”
ISSUE OF “DROPOUTS” DISCUSSED
On Friday, various leaders of Jewish organizations in the United States met here and exchanged views on aliya, with particular reference to the “dropouts” of Soviet Jewish emigrants when they reach Vienna. Israelis at the meeting expressed the view that Jewish organizations involved with aliya should refrain from assisting Soviet Jews who decide to remain in Europe or go to the U.S. instead of to Israel. These views were rejected by the leaders of the Joint Distribution Committee and HIAS. This subject is likely to be discussed at length during the Assembly’s deliberations.