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BBYO Leader Proposes New Approach to Promoting Aliya in the U.S.

April 8, 1976
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The executive director of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, contending that present efforts to promote aliya are ineffective, proposed that Jewish Agency funds for aliya offices in this country be shifted to help subsidize work-and-study tours of Israel for diaspora youth.

Dr. Max F. Baer, suggesting his proposal as “a more promising alternative,” cited the experiences of B’nai B’rith’s youth movement, “We have found that a small percentage of young people who are exposed to Israel through visits tend to repeat these visits and ultimately settle in Israel,” he said.

Acknowledging Israel’s “crucial need” for increased immigration from the West, Baer told the annual meeting of the B’nai B’rith Youth Commission, adult policy board of the 45,000-teenager group, that “no responsible Jewish leader would place any impediments” toward achieving it. But the present approach, he added, was “unrealistic” in assuming that a network of offices could generate aliya among more than a small number of American Jews.

Many Jewish organizations, Baer added, “go through the motions” of aliya operations with little expectations that these will succeed. “If some of the funds now spent on maintaining aliya offices were used to encourage and subsidize more diaspora youth to visit and spend time in Israel, the results would not be spectacular but at least more successful,” Baer said.

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