JERUSALEM (Sep. 28)
The Jews of Soviet Russia for the first time in 22 years today heard “the voice of Palestine” when leaders of all factions of Palestine Jewry, headed by Chief Rabbi Herzog and M.M. Ussishkin, delivered stirring addresses on a Jerusalem broadcast to Moscow, urging the Russian Jews to have faith in the ultimate victory over Hitlerism.
The most touching broadcast was the one made by M.M. Ussishkin, veteran Zionist leader and one of the fathers of the Zionist movement in Czarist Russia. He started his broadcast with the words “Dear brothers and sisters in Soviet Russia” and concluded with “Shalom.” Others who participated in the broadcast – the first ever to be sent from Palestine to Soviet Russia – included Isaac Ben-Zvi; president of the Jewish National Council of Palestine, Dr. Isaac Gruenbaum, member of the World Zionist Executive, Berl Katznelson, leader of the Histadruth, Chanah Rovina, leading actress of the Habimah Theatre, and Saul Tchernichovski, famous Hebrew poet. The broadcast was relayed through London.
“DON’T DESPAIR” IS USSISHKIN’S CALL TO SOVIET JEWRY
Just recuperating from an operation, Ussishkin standing before the microphone said: “Dear brothers and sisters in Soviet Russian Twenty-two years have passed since I took leave of you. But our intimate ties and mutual love and sympathy have not changed. At the time when we here were busy in upbuilding our historical fatherland we did not forget you for a single moment. We build for all parts of our dispersed people, including you. You are happy in one respect. You are equal citizens. You live in a country where there is full equality without discrimination with regard to race and religion, and where the Jewish bent back has grown straight. It is clear to us that Hitler’s victory means the extermination of the Jewish people, while Hitler’s defeat means the resurrection of our people.
“Israel’s history repeats itself,” Ussishkin continued. “We are certain that also from the present catastrophe will come a new hope for our people. There fore, don’t despair just as we do not despair. Thousands and tens of thousands will fall, but the Jewish nation will live forever and its future will be safe – one people, one hope, one ideal, the most human ideal, an ideal which will be recognized by all nations, your country including. We are entering a new year, Let us hope the coming year will take turn to the better for all Shalom!”
Chief Rabbi Herzog in his broadcast to the Jews in Russia said: “Don’t be downhearted. Rely on God of the world, of truth, of justice. Let the New Year bring victory for the Russian and British forces and peace for the world based on freedom and justice.”
Isaac Ben-Zvi, speaking on behalf of the Jewish National Council, said that “Russian Jewry was and remained for us the cradle of Jewry’s liberation. Emphasizing that he voices the sentiments of a half million Jews, Ben-Zvi stated: “You, brethren in Moscow, recently proclaimed that the Jewish people will not die but live, our joyous reply is that we will not die, but live; the enemy of mankind will not overcome us. We follow with adoration the Russian heroic struggle with the invader and we are proud of your participation in it, just as we are proud of the ten thousand Palestine Jews who are fighting with other nations for world’s freedom. Through a sea of blood and pain we are marching toward victory.”
Berl Katznelson, broadcasting on behalf of the Laborites, said this is the first time in history of wars that all Jewish people in dispersion are in one camp against a common enemy wishing Jewish extermination. “You are doing your share, and we are doing and will continue to do our share at the front as well as in the rear,” Katznelson said.
Performances at all theatres in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Tiberias were interrupted during the broadcast to Moscow while the audience listened to the addresses, which were delivered in Hebrew, Russian and Yiddish, over special loud speakers installed in the theatres. Crowds jammed the streets before every radio set in order to hear the entire broadcast. Of special interest was the Yiddish portion since it marked the first time that Yiddish had been heard over the Palestine Broadcasting Service since it was first founded.
The entire Palestine press enthusiastically greeted the “first contact with Russian Jewry.” Regrets were expressed at the inability of Pinchas Rutenberg, Russian-born Palestinian industrialist and former president of the Vaad Leumi, to participate in the program because of ill health.