JERUSALEM (Jun. 26)
The United Jewish Appeal is planning to combine its special campaigns for Soviet and Ethiopian aliyah into a single, billion-dollar drive that will run over the next three to four years, UJA National Chairman Marvin Lender announced here this week.
Lender told the annual assembly of the Jewish Agency for Israel here Tuesday that this mega-campaign combines the initial $420 million target of last year’s Operation Exodus drive; the $450 million additional drive for Soviet aliyah approved recently, known unofficially as Exodus II; and a $130 million campaign to cover the costs of rescuing and resettling the Ethiopian Jews air lifted here last month in Operation Solomon.
Some $574 million has been pledged for Operation Exodus, Lender said, which $478 million if it destined for Israel. The rest is being used by federations for the resettlement of Soviet Jews in American.
About $283 million in cash was raised in one year for Exodus which Lender called a “major accomplishment.” Cash collections got a big boost because of the concern for Israel generated by the Persian Gulf War, he said.
The regular annual UJA-federation campaign for 1990 brought in $765 million. and this year’s campaign is expected to top that figure by $5 million, he said.
In the wake of Operation Solomon, UJA was asked to raise $40 million in cash quickly. About $29 million was raised in two weeks, Lender said, all of it “new money.”
CREATION OF JOBS DISCUSSED
Keren Hayesod, which raise money for the Jewish Agency in countries outside the united States, brought in $300 million in cash for Israel during the past 12 months.
Its chairman, Philip Granovsky of Toronto, told the assembly that this is a considerable sum, in light of the fact that there are only 2 million Jews in Keren Hayesod countries, and that fund raising for Israel is illegal in some of them.
A key topic of discussion at the assembly this week was the need to create new jobs for the immigrants at a time when Israel’s unemployment rate stands at 10 percent.
Dov Lautman, president of the Manufacturers Association, told the assembly Israel has “the infrastructure to create new jobs. What is missing is the belief by industrialists that the government will implement the appropriate policies” to stimulate investment.
Many delegates to the assembly were disappointed that in his address, Finance Minister Yitzhak Moda’i did not present a plan for job creation, nor did he explain what steps had been taken to reduce bureaucratic obstacles for investors and to cut back government control of the economy.
Moda’i declined to answer questions from the floor after he finished his address, which dwelt on the “historic challenge” of the mass aliyah.
The chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, Mendel Kaplan, stressed that Jewish entrepreneurs like himself should invest in Israel for purely financial reasons. “There are ample opportunities to make profits here in advanced industries” he said.
$92 MILLION DEFICIT
Kaplan was elected by the Board of Governors to a second four-year term as chairman, despite discontent with his candidacy within the World Zionist Organization. The WZO is a partner with UJA and Keren Hayesod in running the Jewish Agency.
The agency budget for this year is $546 million, with 60 percent of it going for immigration and absorption. The 1991 budget is for nine months, because the agency’s fiscal year is being switched to the calendar year. Last year’s budget for 12 months was $843 million.
To provide more money for immigration and absorption, allocations for other areas of agency activity — settlement, youth aliyah, Jewish education and Project Renewal — have been cut. Two departments, Rural Settlement and Project Renewal and Development, are to be merged by 1993.
The chairman of the Jewish Agency Budget and Finance Committee. Paul Berger of Washington, said the agency is projecting a deficit of at pecked arrival of over 14,000 Ethiopian Jews in Operation Solomon.