‘project Renewal’ Termed the Second Rebirth of Israel

The 320 members of the United Jewish Appeal’s Prime Minister’s Mission were taken to see for themselves today some of the 160 poverty neighborhoods throughout Israel slated for rehabilitation over the next 10 years through the efforts of the government of Israel and world Jewry.

But first they were given a briefing by Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin, who heads “Project Renewal,” the $1.2 billion program which will be financed half from government appropriations and half from world Jewry. The project is the second rebirth of Israel, Yadin told the visitors from the United States and Canada. He said the country is today trying to correct the poor planning on social problems of the past.

“Although the Ministry of Housing had good will, it had limited resources and not enough time to cope with hundreds of thousands of people living in tents after the War of Independence,” Yadin observed. “These refugees and immigrants were literally dumped into houses without any study of who should live with whom.”

Yadin said that then a series of crucial mistakes compounded the problem, particularly a lack of social infrastructure, and of educational facilities. The absorption and integration prospects for these communities were consequently hindered.

“As a result, Project Renewal is a comprehensive approach to deal with social problems rather than specific remedial measures aimed at particular aspects,” Yadin said. He noted that it involved the Ministries of Health, Education, Social Betterment and Labor, as well as the Ministry of Housing. Yadin added that in Project Renewal, the participants of the program are the neighborhood residents themselves.

The Deputy Premier stressed to the Mission members that the overseas fundraisers must ensure that financial resources are available for the program, as well as contribute their own skills, talents and advice toward the operational management of the renewal scheme. “I urge you,” he continued, “to see things from the eyes of the poor. When you visit the neighborhoods, please keep in mind that the success or failure of Project Renewal depends as much on you as it does on us.”

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