The Executive Committee of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations is deeply distressed by the decision of the Bush Administration to delay the approval of loan guarantees to the State of Israel. These guarantees were intended to meet an immediate need: the resettlement in Israel of hundreds of thousands of new immigrants from the Soviet Union and Ethiopia. The absorption of the huge influx of immigrants is an urgent, humanitarian concern. We believe that their fate should not be held hostage to unresolved issues in the Middle East peace process.
We do not agree that approving the loan guarantees at this time will hurt the proposed Middle East peace negotiations. We note that no Arab government has made the delay of the guarantees a condition of participation in the talks. In fact, we believe that the delay will promote Arab intransigence by encouraging Arab states to pressure the United States rather than negotiate with Israel.
We urge the Administration to reconsider its position and to approve the loan guarantees as quickly as possible. We urge our member congregations to be active in seeking Congressional approval on the loan guarantee program.