JERUSALEM (Sep. 13)
The United Jewish Appeal began its annual campaign this week in Israel — for the first time in its 45-year history. More than 800 leaders from Jewish communities across the United States are scheduled to gather in Jerusalem for the campaign’s opening conference tomorrow through Sunday.
The 1985 campaign is expected to realize close to $700 million, more money than has ever been raised during a single year. Some $660 million was raised during the Yom Kippur War campaign 11 years ago.
This year’s campaign theme is “Partners to Life, ” representing people-to-people as well as the financial commitment to Jews worldwide by American Jewish communities.
“This setting of our campaign opening in Jerusalem is a graphic demonstration of our partnership with the people of Israel and our united commitment to helping meet Jewish needs in Israel and worldwide,” said UJA national chairman Alex Grass of Harrisburg, Pa.
WARMLY WELCOMED BY ISRAELIS
Participants in the campaign, who began arriving here early this week, were warmly welcomed by Israelis. Tourism Minister Avraham Sharir stressed “the enormous contribution” which UJA missions make to Israel’s tourist industry. “Less than 10 percent of American Jews have ever visited Israel, ” he said, “and your initiative is a much-needed injection.”
Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek lauded the UJA’s decision to launch its national campaign in Israel. “We are partners for life in a partnership which is vital to the existence of each of us, ” he told them. “It is not only the financial support which is so important to us — and it is very important. But it is also your moral support, your friendship, the visits you all make at every opportunity, which are such a central source of encouragement for us.”
Leon Dulzin, chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency Executives, thanked the UJA on behalf of the Executives and stressed the importance of the UJA’s contribution to Israel in these difficult economic times. He expressed his hope that the UJA’s initiative in opening its campaign in Israel will be an example to other Jewish organizations worldwide.
The mission program is designed to expose UJA leaders to all facets of their partnership with Israel — and for the more energetic, the day begins with jogging around Jerusalem’s Old City, led by Israeli Olympic marathon runner, Zehava Shmueli.