NEW YORK (Jan. 15)
American Jewish organizations are establishing a series of communication networks to ensure that the latest information on developments in the Persian Gulf is continuously available to the Jewish community leaders.
They also want to make sure that local activities relating to the Gulf crisis, such as rallies or demonstrations, are coordinated nationally as tension builds in the Middle East.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is setting up a “crisis response center” to monitor developments in Washington, at the United Nations and in the Middle East itself.
“Silence in this case is our enemy,” Shoshana Cardin, the new chairman of the conference, said at a news briefing Tuesday. “Sleep is not on our agenda.”
In conjunction with the Council of Jewish Federations and the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, the Conference of Presidents is establishing a toll-free hotline for federation executives to call for information on the Gulf. This will complement an already set-up phone line for Jewish organizational leaders.
The new hotline will be updated twice daily with the latest information on the Gulf crisis and Israel. Phone lines are scheduled to be installed this week, but no phone number is yet available.
In addition, the CJF satellite network will be available to link national Jewish leaders in New York and federation leaders around the country with Israel, Marvin Lender, national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, announced Tuesday.
SATELLITE BROADCASTS ON SHORT NOTICE
Lender spoke during a satellite broadcast Tuesday morning linking federation leaders from 70 communities across North America with UJA leaders and three Israeli officials: Eliahu Ben-Elissar, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee; Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek; and Simcha Dinitz, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives.
According to Lender, the teleconference was arranged in about 24 hours and will be used again if Israel becomes directly involved in Persian Gulf developments.
NJCRAC has stepped up its community relations efforts since the Aug. 2 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, according to Kenneth Bandler, the agency’s director of public information.
NJCRAC is the coordinating body for 13 national agencies and more than 100 community relations councils. It has provided local agencies with regularly updated advice on handling national and international issues, responding to media queries and interpreting Bush administration policy.
NJCRAC has also been considering instituting its own information line to provide callers with updated reports about Gulf developments.