JERUSALEM (Jun. 27)
Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin told the Jewish Agency’s 7th Assembly today that the master plan for the rehabilitation of 160 slum areas throughout Israel depended on a true partnership between Israel and the entire Jewish people. The program, which would affect the lives of some 45,000 disadvantaged families, is the main topic on the Assembly’s agenda. It is a joint venture of the government and the Jewish Agency to be implemented by a planning committee, headed by Yadin.
Yadin, who is leader of the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC), explained that concept. He said the joint committee, consisting of an equal number of representatives of the Jewish Agency and of government ministries concerned with the absorption of immigrants and the welfare of the poor, was established to avoid the mistakes of the past.
He said that previously the problem was handled piecemeal by different ministries and agencies. “You cannot divide people according to ministries, “he said, alluding apparently to new immigrants and that part of the established population that still lives in poverty. He said that was the reason he insisted on a coordinating role when he accepted the office of Deputy Premier. “No plan will be carried out unless ratified by the planning committee,” Yadin stressed.
He noted that the project is not concerned solely with the improvement of housing but will take a comprehensive approach to the problems of the disadvantaged. It includes the development of infrastructure such as roads, fences, sewage, lighting, public parks, educational and religious institutions, centers for adult education, day care centers and community clubs offering activities for different age groups. He noted that the high percentage of slum families with many schoolage children made it necessary to add classes to existing schools and to build new schools in distressed neighborhoods.
300,000 PEOPLE TO BE HELPED
Housing Minister Gideon Patt told the Assembly delegates later in the day that the renewal program would affect the lives of some 300,000 individuals, one–tenth of Israel’s population. He described the problems in slum areas which include a high crime rate, high birth rate, a high rate of unemployment and a large aged population as young families moved away to better themselves. He said the renewal program called for the complete clearing of some areas and a thorough renovation of others. He said that the local people would not always cooperate with government departments and predicted that some would resist being moved or re-housed. The government must tread carefully and try to convince these people of the benefits of the new plan.
Dr. Israel Katz, Minister of Social Betterment, stressed the overall social impact of the project. He said that along with building work, new sources of employment would have to be provided and new social services established to cater to elderly people beyond working age. The Jewish Agency has committed world Jewry to raise half of the $1.2 billion required to carry out the project over the next 10 years without impinging on regular contributions to the United Jewish Appeal in the U.S. and Canada and the Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal in the rest of the world. The Jewish Agency has pledged that a special “monitoring unit will be established (within the Agency) to ensure that the monies are expended for the purposes for which they are raised.”