NEW YORK (Oct. 27)
The 53rd annual convention of the National Committee for Labor Israel concluded Sunday by setting its 1977 goals to raise $5 million in cash through the Israel Histadrut Campaign and another $5 million in deferred gifts through its Israel Histadrut Foundation, The funds will be used for the immediate and long-range health educational and social welfare programs of Histadrut in Israel.
Israel Kesser, Histadrut treasurer, who came here from Israel for the convention, told the 2000 delegates that Histadrut. “is engaged in a three-pronged drive to combat the worst effects of our present economic headaches.” The first aim, he said, “is to avoid, at all costs, a condition of unemployment which would lead to serious social consequences in Israel. Fortunately, we have had full employment in recent years, but unless we create new jobs, that will change.”
The second aim, Kesser said, is to combat inflation “which rides high at an annual rate of 30 percent. This undermines the living standard of the workers and creates labor unrest.” The third aim “is that of equal sacrifice,” he stated. “The burden of high taxation must be shared equally. Linked with this is the placing of a lid on the extravagant standard of living by all social groups, wage-earners and self-employed alike.”
LABOR LEADER SCORES BROWN
Sol. C. Chaikin, president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, criticized Gen. George S. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for stating that Israel was a “burden” to the United States. “There is nothing wrong in being a burden nor is there anything wrong in our assuming responsibility for helping our friends,” he said. “What about the situation during World War II when we depleted our own arsenals in order to rush materiel to the Russians reeling before the Nazi war machine? What about Britain and France? It is the kind of burden that our powerful country has to assume if we are concerned with human freedom.”
Yaacov Cohen, the American representative of Histadrut and an Arab affairs expert, told the convention that the good relations established recently by the “good fence” policy on the Israel Lebanon border demonstrate “that Israel is actually encircled by hostile states and hostile Arab leaders, but not by hostile people. The Arab people keenly want peace with Israel even though their political leaders try to steer away from it.”
In a similar vein, Mordechai Shalev, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, said that the “good fence” has become a byword for good relations between Israel and the Arab people. The fence, he noted leads into an area of Lebanon–Fatahland–from which terrorists penetrated into Israel. As a result of the fence, Fatahland will no longer serve as a staging area against the Jewish State, he said.
Shalev also reported that Israel has authorized the U.S. to approach Egypt, Syria and Jordan to sound them out on permanent peace agreements. “Israel is ready to meet the Arabs at any time to negotiate peace and is not dragging its feet,” he said.
Submitting the annual report of the Israel Histadrut campaign, the fund-raising arm of the NCLI, Bernard B. Jacobson, executive vice-president, noted that $4 million had been raised during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. A major beneficiary is the Histadrut Scholarship Fund, which grants 3000 scholarships annually to needy students in academic and vocational high schools.
Dr. Judah J. Shapiro, veteran Labor Zionist leader and Jewish educator, was re-elected to a third term as president of the NCLI which embraces the Labor Zionist Alliance. Pioneer Women, Workmen’s Circle, and large segments of the American trade union movement. The convention saluted the newly merged Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union at a luncheon Saturday.