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Labor Israel Sets $10m Goal

November 29, 1971
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The 48th annual convention of the National Committee for Labor Israel concluded today with the adoption of a fund-raising goal of $5 million for the Israel Histadrut Campaign and an additional target of $5 million in deferred gifts for the Israel Histadrut Foundation. The funds will be used in Israel for a variety of health, educational and welfare programs maintained by Histadrut, the Israel labor federation.

Among the major programs supported by the American group is the Kupat Holim medical network that serves over 70 percent of the Jewish and Arab population of Israel; a vocational training system of 26 schools with an enrollment of 10000 teen-agers; and several hundred community and youth centers.

Leon Keyserling, who was elected to his third term as president, said “Israel needs, from us in the United States, money which I hope we can offer without worshipping the golden calf, and military hardware which I hope we can provide without looking to combat as the desired solution of conflicts among nations.”

Continuing, Keyserling noted: “But we need from Israel the example of a free people who distinguish between the right to disagree with their own government’s foreign policy and their obligation not to make impossible the conduct of any foreign policy by licentious flagellation and deprecation of those who must conduct a foreign policy.” Israel, he said, offers the example of a free people who “censure and even repudiate their top public officials, but do not indulge in the cheap but costly destruction of confidences and credibility with respect to top national leadership.”


At an earlier session of the three-day meeting, Yitzhak Ben-Aharon, secretary-general of the Histadrut, said that about 200000 Israelis about one-tenth of the population, live below the poverty line. “This has created a credibility gap between our original social ideology and the present reality of life in Israel,” he said, noting that “Israel’s leadership, especially the labor leaders, have had to overcome the embarrassment of this situation as we believed that “it couldn’t happen here.'”

But, Ben-Aharon said, “once we realized the nature of the problem, it became manageable.” He said the social and economic problems confronting the under-privileged in Israel, particularly those from Middle East countries, could be overcome in six to eight years by expanding housing, the school years of the young, and job training for youths.

The convention delegates adopted a resolution appealing to the United States to renew shipment of Phantom jets to Israel. The resolution urged the US not to make the “mistaken assumption that by holding back on Israel’s needs it will hasten a peaceful solution to the Middle East question.” Messages of support for the work of the National Committee for Labor Israel were received from President Nixon and Israel’s Premier Golda Meir.

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