C.J.F.W.F. Assembly Appeals for Peace in Middle East; Lauds Israel
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C.J.F.W.F. Assembly Appeals for Peace in Middle East; Lauds Israel

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The Jews of the United States and Canada today issued an appeal to the world to bring about a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, emphasizing that “such a ‘peace with justice–and justice with peace’ will be of a momentous and enduring value to all peoples of the area, and to all mankind.”

The appeal was voiced at the concluding session here of the four-day General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds which represents more than 800 Jewish communities in the United States and Canada. Herbert R. Abeles of Newark was re-elected president of the CJFWF for another term, together with all other officers.

In a special resolution on Israel, the delegates emphasized that Israel has been “the bulwark of democracy in the Middle East” and has rescued over 800,000 Jewish refugees “who found it necessary to flee there in search of freedom and security.” Terming vital the ability of Israel to continue that role, the delegates rededicated themselves “to continue and intensify our efforts to the end that the great humanitarian program to which we have contributed and which continues to demand our help may go forward.”


The Assembly also adopted a resolution asking the Jews of the United States and Canada for a “most generous outpouring of support” to meet critical Jewish needs abroad and to strengthen Jewish community institutions at home. It called for “the immediate mobilization of campaign organizations and manpower, immediate enrollment of campaign leader-ship, fullest enlistment of our communities in this united effort, and maximum giving.”

Other resolutions called for a year-round program by communities to “recruit, train and retain the most capable individuals for leadership responsibilities,” and a sustained drive by all communities to make up the deficiency in trained personnel by “joining and encouraging overall recruitment efforts to secure the best qualified men and women for Jewish communal service.”

The Governments of Canada and the United States won the praise of the delegates for granting asylum to refugees fleeing Soviet domination in Hungary. The delegates also lauded the Canadian Government for “inaugurating a program of immigration from North Africa which will include a substantial number of Jews.”

In a resolution on immigration in the United States, acted upon only by Unites States delegates, the delegates reiterated their previous stand on American immigration laws and called for their revision, eliminating the discriminatory national origins quota system and establishing a realistic and flexible quota system “geared to meet emergencies.”


Leaders of the Jewish communities at the Assembly heard a report by Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, executive vice-chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, emphasizing that despite the Middle Eastern crisis, Israel is experiencing the heaviest immigration in years.

“The heavy influx of immigrants to Israel is creating a vast new emergency at a time when Israel is confronted with the most critical problem of survival since its independence in 1948,” the UJA leader said. “Since the beginning of October alone, right through most of the tense days of the fighting, immigration continued and more than 12,000 people entered Israel,” he declared. “The immigrants.” he stated, “are arriving from countries where doors are thought closed. They constitute life-or-death immigration. Either they can come in now or they may never have another chance. Also, hundreds of thousands of earlier, arrivals in Israel are in need of aid and their absorption must be completed.”

“Tens of thousands of Jewish lives can be saved only if American Jews will come with prompt and full aid for the people of Israel as they struggle to take in and absorb those who plead to come now. These are days of greatest opportunity for rescue.” Rabbi Friedman stressed. He added that the American Jewish community must prepare for the greatest fund-raising effort ever in order to meet the extraordinary needs posed by the current situation.

Avraham Harman, member of the Jewish Agency executive, who arrived from Israel to address the Assembly, told the gathering that the “knockout blow Egypt was readying against Israel was designed not merely conquer territory, but to destroy people. No country could reasonably be expected to tolerate a situation of this kind or fail to take the necessary action to protect its existence.” He said Egypt had converted the Sinai Peninsula into a “great arsenal of aggression,” threatening not only Israel but the entire world.

“The major function of the United Nations today must be to remove the threat of Egyptian aggression from the Middle East. It is inconceivable that the United Nations, whose essential purpose is the maintenance of peace, should fail to concentrate its attention on the central task of bringing Egypt to the peaceable with Israel. Any action short of that would mean United Nations acquiescence in the existence of a state of war on the part of one nation against its neighbor,” Mr. Harman said.

Moses A. Leavitt, executive vice chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, told the delegates that the “terrible events in Hungary” have caused deep concern about the fate of the 120,000 Hungarian Jews, most of whom are concentrated in shattered Budapest Many hundreds of Jewish refugees have crossed the border into Austria and more are expected in the days ahead, he said. “Overnight, we are back in this horrible refugee business,” Mr. Leavitt said. “We are again opening offices, rushing staff into Austria, and do not know when the surge of fleeing people will stop.”

Abner Bregman, chairman of the board of the United Hias Service, reported assurances of financial stability for more than 100 Hungarian Jewish refugee families, part of the 5,000 refugees to be admitted to the United States under the terms of the U.S. Refugee Relief Act and President Eisenhower’s order. Hias is negotiating with Canada and Brazil to admit thousands of North African Jews in 1957, he noted. In cooperation with the JDC and Jewish Agency, Mr. Bregman said, Hias was helping 600 Jews in Communist China try to obtain exit visas for Israel.


Addressing the 25th anniversary dinner of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, Harry L. Lurie, former executive director of the Council and ranking authority on Jewish social welfare, predicted that within the next 25 years Jewish communal organizations in the United States would combine religious and secular activities to achieve a more cohesive and beneficial effect for Jews. He said that the marked differences in United States Jewish groups, because of varying immigrant and cultural backgrounds, was leveling out. He attributed this to the continued decrease in the number of foreign-born in the nation’s population. This trend, he stated, would continue until the differences reached “the vanishing point” in 25 years.

Declaring that large cultural differences among American Jews “had yielded to a considerable amount of group likeness,” Mr. Lurie said: “Time and American-born generations have tended to ease what were once considered to be ingrained differences between the culture of the foreign born and of the longer settled American Jews, between the traditional and the modern.” He added that under an ever-broadening American prosperity Jewish communities could look forward to continuing progress toward higher forms of community organization and expanded social services.

Mr. Lurie also reported an easing of anti-Semitism and asserted that accelerated drives against discrimination were being reinforced by “legal measures, accompanied though they may be today by increased strains and stresses.” Sidney Hollander of Baltimore, a former president of the council, announced the establishment of a fellowship in honor of Mr. Lurie. The fellowship, financed by the council, will go to a promising youth for advanced social work studies.

The Council presented its annual William J. Shroder Awards to the Jewish Community Services of Long Island and the Jewish Vocational Service of Milwaukee. The Long Island group was honored for developing specialized non-institutional services for the aged. The Milwaukee agency was honored for developing special facilities and educational techniques for physically and emotionally disturbed children and for exceptional children as well. The dinner was marked also by the first presentation of the Edwin Rosenberg Awards for constructive leadership in Jewish communal service. The awards, silver medallions, went to Myer Feinstein and Bernard L. Frankel of Philadelphia. The awards were set up by Ben Touster Foundation in New York.

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