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Largest Jewish Organization Opposes Cuts In U.S. Aid To Africa

WASHINGTON, May 22, 1996 -- The Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), the national Reform Jewish movement, this week called on members of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee to halt the disproportionate cuts in U.S. development assistance to Africa.

In a letter from Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the UAHC declared "We cannot allow further cuts that erode the United States' ability to prevent conflicts and build peace, promote human rights and democratic values, alleviate human suffering and protect the global environment."

The full text of Rabbi Saperstein's letter follows:

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, representing over 1.5 million Reform Jews and 850 synagogues nationwide, I am writing in strong support of a robust foreign aid program. In particular, I am appealing to you to halt the disproportionate cuts in U.S. development assistance to Africa.

These programs -- like the Development Fund for Africa (DFA) and bilateral assistance -- save lives, prevent crises and help create stability and have long been supported by the Jewish community. Failure to invest now will result in much larger expenditures for emergency relief, refugees, and strife in the future. A peaceful, democratic, stable, and prosperous world is in our highest national strategic, economic, and moral interests.

While the foreign aid budget was cut 11 percent last year, development assistance programs suffered, on average, cuts three times as large. We cannot allow further cuts that erode the United Statesí ability to prevent conflicts and build peace, promote human rights and democratic values, alleviate human suffering and protect the global environment.

Maintaining an adequate level of development assistance for Africa to meet the overwhelming needs and opportunities is in our national interest. Further cuts in these vital aid programs -- just a fraction of 1 percent of the federal budget -- will do little to balance the budget but will have disastrous effects in human terms. I urge you to support the administration's full $704 million request as well as the line-item for the DFA.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis .



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