NEW YORK (Feb. 4)
Israel’s friends in the United States and elsewhere are showing their support with their pocketbooks, helping the emergency State of Israel Bonds campaign surpass its two-week goal of $100 million.
Meir Rosenne, former Israeli ambassador to the United States and president of the Bonds organization, announced Monday that the campaign, which began shortly after Iraq’s first missile attack on the Jewish state, netted $127 million.
“As has happened during previous periods of danger, the Jewish people mobilized their time, energy and resources to ensure Israel’s continued economic stability,” he said at a news conference here.
About 7,000 people bought bonds, which range in price from $500 to $1 million, joining an estimated 70,000 Israel bonds holders around the world.
Rosenne said the campaign was part of a larger, $500 million Israel Bonds campaign that would continue through the end of March, another effort to help support Israel during its times of financial hardship.
Israel’s economy has been battered by the Iraqi missile attacks, which, in addition to injuring people, have damaged thousands of buildings and disrupted business.
This takes place along with the continuing Soviet Jewish immigration, which could bring as many as 400,000 new immigrants to the country this year. They join 200,000 who arrived in 1990, many of whom are already suffering from Israel’s lack of affordable housing and lack of new jobs.
All money raised through bonds sales will go toward the absorption costs of the new immigrants, specifically in the areas of housing and employment opportunities, Rosenne said.
UJA HAS COLLECTED $90 MILLION
Elie Wiesel, who attended the news conference, said the bonds sales give the people of Israel hope, showing them they have not been abandoned in their time of trouble.
“The mood in Israel is very sober,” said Wiesel, who just returned from a trip to Israel, “and every mark of solidarity is important.”
The Nobel Peace Prize-winner, writer and Holocaust survivor added, “I have rarely felt so gratified as I feel now, knowing what the entire (Bonds) organization has done for our people.”
Meanwhile, the United Jewish Appeal’s emergency cash drive to aid Israel, which has set out to gather $400 million in cash by the end of March, has so far collected about $90 million.
A spokesman said local federations around the country are responding admirably to the call for people to pay up the balance of their pledges to UJA’s regular campaign and its special Operation Exodus drive for Soviet Jewry.
The Baltimore Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund presented UJA officials with a check for $2.9 million, while the Jewish Federation of New Haven, Conn., was able to give $1.96 million, said a spokesman for UJA.
He said the relatively small Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey sent in a check for $300,000, and the Jewish Federation of Allentown, Pa., came up with $669,000 in cash and promised to forward another $1 million within six weeks.