NEW YORK (Dec. 6)
A $47 million budget for 1979 was adopted by the Joint Distribution Committee at its 64th annual meeting here today. The budget is $2.1 million more than this year’s allocation and the highest since 1949 when the JDC spent more than $50 million in a broad range of programs and services for Jewish displaced persons and other survivors of the Holocaust.
Donald M. Robinson, of Pittsburgh, who was reelected president for a second one-year term, told the some 100 JDC board members attending the meeting that unmet needs remain despite the large increase in the budget. “A number of programs which we wanted to fund just had to be set aside,” he said.
Also reelected today at the meeting in the JDC headquarters were Jack D. Weiler, chairman of the Board of Directors, and Ralph I. Goldman, executive vice-president. Goldman reported that the JDC had helped more than 430,000 men, women and children during 1978 at a cost of almost $45 million.
Robinson, in reviewing the budget, said that the largest allocation, $11.1 million, is for the care of transmigrants, mostly Jews from the Soviet Union going to the United States and other countries in the West. “Fortunately, most of that amount will be refunded by the United States refugee program,” he added.
The JDC will spend more than $11 million in Israel, Robinson continued. He said $23.8 million has been allocated for relief and welfare programs, $4.3 million for health services and $2.3 million for the care of the aged. For Jewish education, the budget has allocated $8.3 million, plus an additional $1.1 million for advanced education and manpower development. “Ninety-two percent of every JDC dollar spent goes for programs,” Robinson stressed.
SHARP RISE IN EMIGRATION FROM USSR
Goldman, in his year-end report, said the number of Jews emigrating from the Soviet Union has risen sharply. “We expect the rate to continue at about 3000 a month, or 36,000 for the coming year,” he said. “Of them, about 24,000 will choose to go to the West. Our caseload for 1977 was 11,350. From the beginning of 1978 to October 1978 the JDC has already taken care of 16,000 transmigrants.”
Goldman warned of the growing bottleneck in Rome and Vienna. “There were over 5400 waiting for further travel arrangements to be completed,” he said. He praised the efforts of the U.S. government, HIAS and JDC staff to reduce the waiting time of the transmigrants from four-and-a-half to three months. “Nevertheless, “he said, “a further reduction is essential. The delay is humanly and financially costly and wasteful.”
He also warned that the parole visas authorized by the U.S. Attorney General will run out by mid-February and said that additional visas must be made available to provide for the increased numbers of Soviet Jews coming out. “It is vital that we reduce the number of transmigrants waiting in Rome from the more than 5400 today to a more manageable 2000,” he said.