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UJC Israel Campaign Sets Priorities

Children, security and Argentine emigrants are top areas for fundraising.

by Julie Wiener

May 16, 2002 | 8:00 pm

The North American Jewish federation system has designated five priority areas for allocating funds from its Israel emergency campaign.

More than $119 million has been raised, most of it since April 8, when the national campaign was officially launched, according to officials of the United Jewish Communities (UJC). Already the figure, the bulk of which are funds raised at individual federations, represents the largest amount of emergency funds being designated for Israel during its latest crisis.

Many of the details of the UJC allocations, including specific recipients, have yet to be determined. But the priority areas, determined in a series of meetings and conference calls last week, are:

child safety and protection programs, such as security around schools, summer and after-school activities that would keep children off the streets and potential targets of terrorist as well as trauma treatment;

hospitals and other medical needs;

security initiatives, such as posting neighborhood civilian guards and protecting neighborhoods;

aid to Israeli citizens directly impacted by the conflict and terrorist attacks; and

immigration to Israel by Argentine Jews facing severe economic challenges.

The UJC had earlier decided to wrap its campaign to aid Argentine Jews into the Israel emergency campaign. The UJC has already pledged $35 million to aid the new immigrants. Money for these purposes will start being directed to the UJC's overseas partners -- the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee -- in the next few weeks, said Stephen Hoffman, the UJC's president and CEO.

These agencies will provide the vehicles for distributing much of the funds.

Some other agencies in Israel, such as Jewish Community Centers, may also implement some of the programs, Hoffman said.

In addition, $1 million will go to Reform movement programs for children in Israel, under an agreement with the Reform movement's Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

It is not yet clear how the funds will be divided among the five priorities -- if, for example, child safety programs will receive more or less money than aid to those affected by terrorism.

The only known allocation at this point is the $35 million pledged for Argentine immigration.

The UJC is asking federations to give the money raised directly to it, so it can allocate to the five priority areas, Hoffman said.

However, the UJC is also considering accepting federation dollars that are earmarked for one of the five specific priority areas -- or specific projects that fall in these categories.

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