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Israel Formally Thanks UJA for Work in Operation Moses

In a special gesture, the government of Israel has officially thanked "the officers and staff of United Jewish Appeal of America" for "successful completion of the Operation Moses campaign" that has raised $62.5 million.

The gesture came in the form of a plaque presented to UJA national chairman Alex Grass and UJA president Stanley Horowitz at a recent meeting here of the UJA national officers. It was presented by Minister Elyakim Rubinstein-Migdal, Deputy Chief of Missions in Israel’s Embassy in Washington, and it was issued on instructions from Vice Premier and Foreign Affairs Minister Yitzhak Shamir, representing the government.

Although high Israeli officials have often thanked UJA leaders and others in Jewish life for their contributions to Israel, the presentation of a tangible symbol at a formal gathering is rare. It recognizes the enormous achievement of UJA in exceeding an ambitious goal of raising $60 million from Thankgiving Day 1984 to March 31, 1985, to provide funds to aid the initial absorption in Israel of thousands of Ethiopian Jews.

ADDITIONAL PLEDGES CONTINUE

UJA officials have reported that $52.4 million of the pledges have been paid, and that payment — and additional pledges — are still being made every day. They also report that other UJA fundraising continues to be strong despite the contributions to Operation Moses, and that the 1985 Regular Campaign is up to $567 million, a card-for-card increase of 12.3 percent and a dollar gain of $63 million over the 1984 Regular Campaign.

The plaque read, "Presented to the Officers and Staff of the United Jewish Appeal of America in recognition of their distinguished community leadership and illustrious example of the highest order of fraternity in the successful completion of the Operation Moses campaign." It was signed by Shamir who had requested UJA to seek to raise $60 million in four months — which was tantamount to requesting one of the most ambitious fund-raising campaigns in a limited time period.

Rubinstein-Migdal, in presenting the plaque said, "I express the deep, heartfelt appreciation of the people of Israel for your special effort on behalf of Jewish fraternity of the highest degree, in the framework of Operation Moses. We are grateful to you. We are proud of you."

Grass responded, "In a larger sense, this award belongs to the thousands of American Jews across the country, organized into communities and federations, who have done their share to help our brothers and sisters from Ethiopia begin to realize their age-old dream, their redemption in Israel. And it is also the people of Israel, who have heroically made possible and welcomed this aliyah in pressing economic times, who are deserving of recognition."

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