Jerusalem (Aug. 18)
A meeting to commemorate the first World Zionist Congress, 50 years ago, was held here in the Herzl Room of the Jewish National Fund building last night with prominent Zionist leaders attending. Among the honored guests were five veteran delegates to the first congress, which was held in Basle, Switzerland, in 1897.
Isaac Ben Zvi, president of the Jewish National Council, which, together with the World Zionist Organization, sponsored the commemorative meeting, stressed that the first congress changed the popular conception of the character of the Jewish people from that of a religious community to a nation. Also, he declared, the parley presented the problem of the Jews to the world and offered a solution through a Jewish state.
David Ben Gurion, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, declared that at the Basle Congress the Jewish people arose again as an independent nation, determined to take their destiny into their own hands. “Now we are on the brink of a Jewish state, in spite of the clouds darkening our existence,” he said.
The Agency today cabled the heads of the Indian and Pakistan Governments extending the congratulations of the Jewish people to the Indians and Moslems who gained their independence last week. The message pointed out that the Jewish people who are also fighting for independence are sympathetic toward the two peoples in their struggle for freedom.