NEW YORK (Oct. 20)
The first United Jewish Appeal Campaign leadership Gathering in Israel (October 10-14), featuring a buoyant celebration of solidarity with Israel’s people and in-depth dialogues with Israel’s leaders, generated a total of $24 million in pledges to the 1983 regular campaign, Israel Special Fund and Project Renewal.
The total was announced in the presence of Premier Menachem Begin by UJA national chairman Robert Loup at the Gathering’s final session on October 14. More than 1,000 leaders representing some 70 communities participated in the Gathering, under the co-chairmanship of UJA national vice chairman Bud Levin and H. Paul Rosenberg.
The keynote of the Gathering was sounded by Loup at the opening ceremony at Modi in, historic home of the Maccabbees. “All roads lead to Jerusalem,” he said. In introducing a dramatic and moving pageant of unity, “It is imperative that we come here to be one family. In times of stress and trouble, we must all stand together and demonstrate our unshakable solidarity with the people of Israel.”
A massive march of solidarity through the streets of Jerusalem climaxed the intensive four-day program. Singing and dancing, arm-in-arm with thousands of Project Renewal neighborhood residents, the marching groups raised banners proclaiming “We Are One” and” “To Life” as they made their way to the Western Wall.
The public demonstration of unity was preceded earlier in the Gathering by a uniquely intimate solidarity program, when hundreds of homes in settlements and development towns in the Galilee were opened to the American Jewish leaders for dinner, late night dialogue and overnight stays.
In another widespread people-to-people happening, dozens of community delegations made partnership visits to their linked Project Renewal neighborhoods to review achievements and ongoing needs, and to plan a continuing year of progress in the vast social rehabilitation program.
Participants in the Gathering had previously visited Lebanon and met with Lebanese civilians in a series of frank and open discussions. They saw the cities of Type, Sidon and Nabotiya being reconstructed by residents who had returned after years of PLO-enforced exile; viewed the captured Beaufort Castle, from which PLO artillery fire had raked northern Israel, and visited Israel Defense Forces installations for dialogues with high ranking spokesmen and line soldiers.