Menu JTA Search

Special Interview Wizo Trying to Surmount Obstacles

Roya Jaglom, president of the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), said that as a result of the continuing inflation and other problems of the Israeli economy, her organization; which provides social and educational services to women and children in Israel, will not be able to expand and undertake necessary development plans. “We will be operating on the current level, and for us it means that we will be logging behind the growing needs,” she said in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Jaglom, who stopped in New York for a brief visit on her way to Israel after attending a WIZO convention in Vancouver, Canada, where Myrial Small was elected president of the Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, succeeding Clora Balinsky, said that currently there are about 35,000 children in WIZO-operated day care centers and schools in Israel. The inflation means that this year we are not going to build any new day care centers – as we normally do – and many applications to this valuable service to working mothers will be turned down,” she said.

She noted that although WIZO’s 1980-81 budget is IL 1 billion, this seemingly high sum is nevertheless insufficient to allow any new undertakings because of the continuing devaluation of the Israeli Pound. Jaglom said that WIZO, which was founded in 1920, is now operating in Israel 200 day care centers, 12 schools, 70 youth clubs, and 184 centers for women, including centers for women in nine Arab villages.

Jaglom said WIZO also provides assistance to more than 2600 war widows and takes special interest in the absorption and integration of women immigrants in Israel by offering special Hebrew courses, vocational training and social activities.

STATUS OF WOMEN STILL UNSATISFACTORY

Pointing out that WIZO is a non-political organization with no affiliation to any party in Israel, Jaglom said that the “status of Israeli women is a little bit better now than it used to be 10 years ago but it is still not satisfactory.” She said the most evident example is in the realm of family law, in cases of marriage and divorce, where women still do not enjoy equality under the law. She said WIZO provides legal advice for women, seeing to it that women are protected and given their rights in cases involving divorce, child custody and alimony.

Jaglom said there are 80,000 members of WIZO in Israel. She said the WIZO federations around the world, which raises at least one-third of the organization’s budget, get the opportunity to engage in “practical Zionism” by undertaking to sponsor special WIZO projects in Israel. This year’s special projects, Jaglom said, are the building of new day care centers in the Israeli settlements of Gitit and Roie in the West Bank.

WIZO is accredited to the United Nations as a non-governmental organization, Jaglom said., noting that it is the only Zionist organization headquartered in Israel to be represented at the UN. Evelyn Sommer is WIZO’s representative at the UN.

NEXT STORY