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Few U.S. Jewish Leaders Attending Jewish Agency Executive Meeting

Senior officials of the Jewish Agency for Israel are disappointed at the low turnout of American Jewish leaders invited for a meeting here of the agency Executive, and they attribute the poor showing to war jitters.

None of the top leaders of the United Jewish Appeal or the Council of Jewish Federations who sit on the Executive are attending the meeting, which opened Wednesday.

The Jewish Agency leaders staying away include Marvin Lender, UJA national chairman; Morton Kornreich, chairman of the UJA board of trustees; and CJF President Charles Goodman.

The professional executives of these organizations — UJA President Stanley Horowitz and CJF Executive Vice President Martin Kraar — are not attending either, though they are associate members of the Jewish Agency Executive.

Nor is the executive vice chairman of the United Israel Appeal, Herman Markowitz, though its chairman, Norman Lipoff, is attending. A UIA spokesman in New York said Markowitz had to remain in the United States to handle “some important financial negotiations and several matters with the U.S. government.”

“This is a shame and a disgrace that at this moment of trial they are not coming here,” Meir Sheetrit, treasurer of the Jewish Agency, told the Israeli daily Ma’ariv.

The American Jewish leaders “should have set an example and come to Israel,” he said.

Simcha Dinitz, chairman of the Executive, said the meeting would continue, despite the absence of key Diaspora leaders. “I don’t accept any excuses because the (absent) people concerned are front-ranking leadership,” he told Ma’ariv.

American Jewish officials in New York observed that the January meeting of the Executive had not been held in Israel in several years. Some indicated privately that they felt it was critical to stay at their posts in the United States at such a critical time in the Middle East.

Besides Lipoff, other Diaspora leaders attending the meeting include Mendel Kaplan, chairman of the Agency Board of Governors; Paul Berger, a CJF vice president who is chairman of the Jewish Agency Budget and Finance Committee; and Bernice Tannenbaum, a UIA vice chairman who is chairman of the American Section of the World Zionist Organization.

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