JERUSALEM (Sep. 4)
The largest increase in United Jewish Appeal campaign contributions by a major leadership mission to Israel was recorded at a state dinner in the Knesset for the 100 members of the UJA 1981 Prime Minister’s Mission.
Regular 1981 campaign pledges announced in the presence of Premier and Mrs. Menachem Begin totaled $15.6 million, from contributors whose gifts for the previous campaign were $11.4 million. The 37 percent increase is the highest in the history of the annual Prime Minister’s Missions, which began shortly after the Six-Day War.
Pledges for Project Renewal; for which UJA is seeking contributions over and above regular giving, registered even greater gains. A total of $15.3 million in Project Renewal pledges was announced to Begin, who set the program in motion three years ago with a call for a massive international effort shared equally by world Jewry and the people of Israel. This represents on 86 percent increase over the $8.2 million previously pledged by the same contributors.
According to UJA national chairman Herschel Blumberg, who led the mission, the unprecedented Project Renewal gains were an intense and spontaneous reaction to face-to-face meetings between groups of mission members and the local leaders and residents of four Jerusalem neighborhoods included in the renewal program. The meetings freely cited the hopes and concerns of the residents, as well as the advances made and problems encountered in carrying it out.
The mission, for which Lee Scheinbart of Boston served as program and recruitment chairman was the first of the annual Prime Minister’s invitational events with a $100,000 minimum pledge qualification. The 100 participants represented the largest group of givers in that category ever brought to Israel on a UJA mission.
Another first recorded by the mission was on all-morning seminar at Hebrew University conducted by the Jerusalem Institute of Management, bringing mission participants together with some 50 leading Israeli businessmen, bankers and industrialists. Seminar discussions covered a wide range of subjects related to Israel’s economy and financial structure, examining the status of the country’s technology based industries, the investment potential for diaspora Jewry and other means of closing Israel’s trade gap.