Hew Secretary Praises U.S. Jews for Aid to Soviet Jews, Asian Refugees
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Hew Secretary Praises U.S. Jews for Aid to Soviet Jews, Asian Refugees

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A leading member of President Carter’s Cabinet declared here last night that events now taking place in Southeast Asia are a new holocaust and urged that the same strength be shown to end the massive slaughter in that part of the world “that the martyrs at Treblinka, Dachau, Auschwitz, showed.”

In a speech devoted entirely to the tragedy of the Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese people, Patricia Harris, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, told the 2600 Jewish. communal leaders from the United States and Canada attending the 48th General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations, “We must bear witness so that there will be no holocausts in the 1980s.”

Whatever humanity, suffers, she said, “we all suffer. Wherever there is persecution, we are persecuted. Wherever there is needless, pointless death, humanity dies. And we are all Jews, we are all Black, we are all Cambodian, we are all refugees. “The Black Cabinet Secretary, who was presented with the special edition of the Holy Scriptures and a Distinguished Service Award praised the Jewish communities of the United States for helping to resettle Soviet Jews and Indochinese refugees.

“Your resettlement program is a model for others, “she said.” During the 1979 fiscal year you have helped more than 25,000 Soviet Jewish refugees get established in over 100 communities, ranging from small towns to New York City. “She said that since 1975 the U.S. has resettled more than 200,000 Indochinese refugees. In addition, she noted, “because of the efforts of people like you, between 1975 and 1979, Canada resettled more than 14,000 Indochinese.”


At an earlier session of the Assembly, the needs of the Jewish Agency for 1980-81 were reviewed by Akiva Lewinsky, the Agency’s treasurer. Focussing on the needs and opportunities confronting the Agency in the aftermath of the Israeli Egyptian peace treaty, he said the price of peace places a heavy burden on Israel. While critical decisions on Israel’s security must be taken by those who risk their lives, the dicisions on the well-being of Israel, the creation of a new and just Israeli society must be taken jointly by a partnership between Israel and diaspora Jewry, Lewinsky said. He said that satisfying the Agency’s budget in the next period will present a supreme test of Jewish solidarity. “Our appeals have not kept pace with inflation in other words they have lost in real value,” he said. He warned that if funding is not available “there will be less settlements and less facilities for newcomers. I cannot imagine that in this case Jewish life will continue as usual and Jewish budgeting go on as usual in our communities, and local needs and allocations remain sacrosanct.”

Lewinsky reported that the interest Israel will pay on U.S. loans granted to implement the withdrawal from Sinai “equals all of our today’s income from the United Jewish Appeal of America.” Discussing an example of the changes inherent in the peace process in which the Jewish Agency plays a dominant role, he said that” 400 settlements are today under our care. “He added that” today, settlement has become a dirty word and symbol of conflict. But on the settlements I talk about, there is no political discussion, neither on the rights nor on the needs. The only question is “will funding be available?” In addition, he said, programs of final rehabilitation and integration of immigrants are the object of Project Renewal. “We cannot move towards peace if we do not solve this problem,” he said.


Lewinsky recalled that a year ago he met with a group of Moroccan Jews who live in France and who came to visit Israel. One of them said, he related, “We went to France and now we are well established. We are doctors and lawyers, businessmen and professionals and well off. And here in Israel are our brethren and after so many years, they are still the underprivileged and we have to aid them. “Lewinsky said that after reciting all the achievements to the Moroccan Jews about what the poor and destitute immigrants from North Africa accomplished in Israel there is nevertheless still much to be done. “They have a right to ask that their children be given the opportunities they did not have. They have a right to ask for that. It cannot be in Israel that two went off to the wars, equally brave, and one comes back to a home and one to a hut.”

In other actions at the five-day Assembly which ended today, Morton Mandel, of Cleveland, was unanimously re-elected to a second one-year term as CJF president. Joseph Manello, of Boston, was named chairman of the Large City Budgeting Conference (LCBC), succeeding George Zeltzer of Detroit. Manello, who had been serving as LCBC vice chairman, is a member of the CJF board of directors and has been a trustee of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston since 1967, a member of their executive board and vice president.

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