US Jewish leader: Israel must take more financial responsibility

US Jews expect Israel to accept more financial responsibility for its needs, Rebecca Caspi, senior vice president and director general operations of UJC-Israel, said Wednesday. Caspi said that due to the economic crisis, Israel no longer was at the forefront of American Jews' attention. "Even people who understand the importance of Israel and who have family here find it easy to forget Israel," said Caspi. "The economic slowdown coincides with other changes taking place anyway in the Jewish world." Caspi said that fundraising proceeds for Jewish causes in the US have dropped by about 20 percent. "There are Federations reporting a 10% drop, others 20% and there are Federations reporting even steeper falls in proceeds from fundraising," said Caspi. Caspi made the comment during a conference entitled "Resource Development in an Era of Crisis" that was hosted by the Jerusalem College of Technology (Machon Lev). Graduates of the Pradler NGO Empowerment Program of the Pratt Foundation took part in the conference along with representatives of 50 non-profits and NGOs. "People who were once donors are now in need of welfare assistance," said Caspi. "There are donors who intend to meet pledges but who have asked to postpone the date of payment. Some of the Jewish Federations have been forced to make layoffs. They are using funds from strategic reserves that they never believed they would."