NEW YORK (Dec. 2)
Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R. N. Y.) announced here that his amendment to restore $12 million to the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad program, which provides aid in 34 countries including Israel, has been accepted by the Senate Foreign Operations Subcommittee and is expected to be taken up by the full Senate next week. The program provides financial assistance to American sponsored hospitals and schools and these in turn provide education, health care and vocational training services.
D’Amato also told the Zionist Organization of America Brandeis Award Banquet Tuesday night at the Sheraton Center, that the Senate subcommittee also recommended that a greater chunk of the aid during fiscal year 1983 be in the form of a grant rather than a loan, as was the case in fiscal 1982.
The Senator told the 300 banquet guests that during fiscal year 1982, assistance totaled $1.4 billion of which $550 million was in the form of a direct grant to Israel. “The President had requested a funding level of $1.7 billion for similar assistance during fiscal year ’83,” D’Amato said. “According to the President’s proposal, $1.2 billion would have been in the form of a loan while the remaining $5 million would have been provided through grants.”
The recommendation by the Senate subcommittee “stipulates that $850 million be provided in the form of a loan and an additional $850 million will serve as a grant,” the Senator said. “Therefore, Israel will benefit from an additional $350 million in grants according to the subcommittee’s recommendation. This will result in a 21 percent increase in military assistance to Israel.”
In addition, during fiscal year 1982, non-military and economic support to Israel totaled $785 million and the Administration requested continued funding at that level for fiscal year 1983, D’Amato said. But the Senate subcommittee also recommended an increase of economic support programs to Israel at the full authorization of $910 million, he stated.
SAYS ISRAEL HAS NOT LOST ITS SOUL
Ivan Novick, ZOA president, said that Israel’s friends in Washington and in local communities will have to work harder and more skillfully “to balance the misinformation and the lack of information about Israel” and to counter”unprecedented funds and forces arrayed against Israel.”
He stated that there is no reason for Jews to feel ashamed of Israel and its leaders. “Let us not gnaw away at its foundations, let us not undermine its morale, let us not malign its leaders,” Novick declared. “There is no reason — no reason whatsoever — for Jews to sit ‘shiva’ for Israel’s soul. Neither the Jewish State nor the Jewish leaders have lost their souls.”
On the contrary, he said, it is “the soul of the world that is mutilated when it continues to encourage the PLO to believe that it has a future” by such actions as Pope John Paul II embracing PLO chief Yosir Arafat.
Jules Ritholz, a ZOA leader and a New York City tax accountant, was the recipient of the Brandeis Award.