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December 05, 1986 - Image 54

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-12-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

-"-=115111111=117

=SO
Mal
`IN NNW
MI • II ■ 1

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'Previous
Orders
Excluded

FOLLOW-UP

Jewish Agency

Continued from preceding page

This leaves thousands of peo-
ple at the lower rungs of the
rund-raising establishment
with very little solid informa-
tion about how the Agency
really functions and what its
problems really are. About its
achievements, they have
heard enough already.
Thus it happened that
many delegates to the Agen-
cy Assembly who are not
Board members were as-
tounded by some of the
revelations in the articles.
And I was astounded that
they were astounded. How are
they supposed to perform
their task as Assembly
delegates, which is to set
overall policy for the Agency,
if they have only a small frac-
tion of the knowledge
possessed by the insiders who
really run the show?
How are the delegates sup-
posed to find out what's real-
ly going on — from the bland
reports prepared by the Agen-
cy departments that they are
supposed to supervise?

Some of the Assembly
delegates were upset with the
articles, and with me, for
destroying some of their
precious illusions about what
is done with their contribu-
tions. During a discussion of
Youth Aliya, a leader of
Canada Wizo, which raises
funds for the department,
gave vent to her frustrations.
She pleaded with the director-
general of Youth Aliya to
"give us the ammunition so
that we can go back to our
people and tell them that
what the articles say isn't
true.' This is. accountability?
I asked her later whether
she would adopt the same ap-
proach in dealing with critical
revelations about a child
welfare service of the Cana-
dian government. Would she
beg the authorities to "say it
isn't so"? I explained to her
that from my perspective as
an Israeli, my first concern
must be whether Youth Aliya
is keeping up with Israel's
needs. And while I appreciate

Some Key Issues

The five part series ex-
amined some key issues now

Acriwund AuctTo8

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54 ,.Eriday, December 5, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

on the agenda of the Jewish
Agency and World Zionist
Organization, which have
budgets for 1986/87 or $429
million and $59 million
respectively. Some of the
main points of the articles,
in somewhat simplified
form, are as follows:
• The $30 million spent
each year on maintaining
thousands of disadvantaged
Israeli-born youth in expen-
sive boarding schools is
based partly on outmoded
concepts. This system, run
by the Agency Youth Aliya
Department, is only mini-
mally coordinated with the
government's child welfare
programs, and is perpetu-
ated in part because it
serves the interests of
Zionist political parties.
Political pressures on the
department has turned it in-
to the biggest source of
Agency (i.e., UJA) funds for
non-Zionist and anti-Zionist
yeshivas.
• The hundreds of millions
of dollars that over the years
have been nominally allo-
cated by the Agency to
Israel's universities have ac-
tually been transferred to
the WZO, under a shadowy
system of indirect financing
that relieves all concerned —
the Agency, the WZO and
the Israeli government —
from having to account for
the funds.
shlihztt
• The WZO
system, which sends hun-
dreds of Zionist emissaries
around the world each year,
has in many ways reached a

dead end, at least in North
America. Major changes in
the system recommended by
an independent commission
are being resisted by some
of the main parties in the
WZO.

• A growing number of
federation leaders in
America, formerly known as
non-Zionists," have become
more committed to Israel
and have begun to support
activities that used to be the
preserve of the WZO, such
as promoting aliya and
Jewish education. Some
WZO leaders have resisted
these efforts as unwarranted
invasions of their turf.

`'

• While both the Agency
and WZO endorse religious
pluralism, many of the
Reform and Conservative re-
quests for funds are denied
through channels that are
opened generously for in-
stitutions with the right
political connections in the
WZO.
• A growing number of
American Jewish leaders are
fed up with the way the
Agency has been run and
are calling for changes that
go beyond the modest im-
provements of the past 10
years. The Council of Jewish
Federations recently ap-
proved a resolution calling
for depoliticization of the
Agency, which means keep-
ing WZO politics out of
Agency business. This call
was also endorsed by the
UJA since the series 'was
published.

C.H.

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