TEL AVIV (Sep. 30)
Dr. Chaim Weizmann, first President of the Provisional Government of Israel, arrived here today by special plane from Switzerland. He was met by members of the Israeli Cabinet and the State Council. At the airport he reviewed an Israeli Air Force guard of honor.
Deeply moved by his reception, Dr. Weizmann was unable to say much, except, “Now I have come home to stay.” He burst into tears and immediately drove off the his residence at Rehovoth. Twelve hours later the 74-year-old President drove through the streets of a cheering Tel Aviv to the State Council’s chambers where he received the nation’s formal welcome.
The State Council, meeting in the Tel Aviv Museum, was in full attendance when Dr. Weizmann appeared, after passing guards of honor of the Israeli Amy and police force. Members of the diplomatic corps, including James G. McDonald, U.S. envoy to Israel, and Pavel I. Yershov, the Soviet representative, as well as all other consuls accredited to Israel, warmly applauded his entrance.
Welcoming Dr. Weizmann, Israeli Premier David Ben Gurion said: “Dr. Weizmann was the architect of the Jewish National Home and has now lived to see the state of Israel established.” Replying, Dr. Weizmann described the welcome as “a great and sacred occasion for me.” He warmly praised Ben Gurion, “who stood at the helm in our darkest hours,” and paid special tribute to Moshe Shartok, Israeli Foreign Minister. He also lauded Eliezer Kaplan, Finance Minister, and Joseph Sprinzak, chairman of the State Council.
The reception was brief and simple, lasting less than an hour, and was attended with little pomp. In the State Council chamber, many in the audience sat in their shirt sleeves and the U.S. envoy did not even wear a tie.
SAYS ISRAEL HOPES TO “CONVERT SWORD INTO PLOUGHSHARE”
The Israeli President paid tribute to those who had sacrificed their lives “so that Zion might be rebuilt” and to the millions of Jews who were massacred in Europe. He stressed the need for defending the Jewish state “with all our resources, while Israel is fighting for its existence. At the same time, he noted that “the Jewish people are a peace-loving people.”
Extending warm greetings to the American and Soviet representatives, Dr. Weizmann said: “I will endeavor to carry out the great political principles I adopted as my guide years ago. Wars have been forced upon us. Now we are all anxiously looking forward towards the day when we can convert the sword into a ploughshare. With justice shall Zion be redeemed and with righteousness they who return to her.”
He warned of the difficulties ahead and spoke of reinforcements from would Jewry “which takes pride in our gains and maintains close ties with our state.” Recalling his arrival earlier today in an Israeli-manned plane, he stressed the role of youth in building the state and greeted the “young generation in Israel and abroad which is bearing the brunt of the fight.”