Ben Gurion Warns Against Feeling That Creation of Israel Means End of Zionism
Menu JTA Search

Ben Gurion Warns Against Feeling That Creation of Israel Means End of Zionism

Download PDF for this date

Premier David Ben Gurion, addressing a Keren Hayesod conference here at the Habimah Theatre last night, declared that the Jewish people must be warned against two mistakes–the feeling that with creation of the state of Israel an end has come to the Zionist movement and to Zionist funds and that with the establishment of the Jewish state, the Zionist Organization would "persevere in the same way as in the past in its activities (conducted) prior to the formation of Israel."

The conference, attended by veteran Zionist leaders as well as visiting guests from the United States, was convened to discuss and re-examine the Zionist movement in the light of the existence of the state of Israel.

Asserting that Israel’s Jewish population is nearing the 1,000,000 mark, the Israel Premier stated that it "should not be forgotten that that figure is only ten percent of the Jewish population of the world." While Israel promotes the "ingathering of the exiles from their dispersion," Mr. Ben Gurion added, this task cannot be achieved without the aid of the entire Jewish people.

No Zionist, the Premier emphasized, "could influence Israel before assuming all the duties and responsibilities of Israel citizenship." He added that any attempt to pressure the Israel Government through Zionist funds or Zionist organizations would be "interpreted as a disavowal of the state of Israel." In this country, the Premier continued, "is rested the power of sovereignty of Zionist pioneering and such power can be consolidated only through those extending their unconditional assistance." He concluded his address with an appeal for "courageous and loyal cooperation between the government and the Zionist movement."


Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan, addressing the parley, said that the cost of the "war of liberation" had exceeded "by far 100,000,000 pounds," to which Jews abroad contributed less than 25 percent, while no other financial aid was received. Mr. Kaplan also noted that during the six-month April-October period, over 90 percent of its defense expenditures was covered by the Israel Government.

The Finance Minister emphasized that the people of Israel are unable to "bear single-handed the country’s budget for security as well as its programs for immigration and absorption." Mr. Kaplan expressed disappointment over the fact that Jews living outside Israel "filed to contribute the maximum of their capacity for the entire assistance needed for absorption and immigration. The tens of thousands of inmates living in reception camps," he stressed, "have resulted in an inflationary tendency since they did not constitute a productive element."

Mr. Kaplan stated that "owing to the default of world Jewry," he may be compelled to ask the Knesset to impose "a further onus on the country’s population" with regard to housing and other development plans. He disclosed that the Israel Government, during the first 12 months of the new state’s existence, allocated 13,000,000 pounds for housing projects.

The Finance Minister stated that it will be necessary to give up plans for a world-wide Jewish loan for Israel this year in order to avoid interference with existing fund-raising campaigns. In conclusion, Mr. Kaplan expressed optimism at prospects for the country’s economic recovery, which he said would come "during the transitory years." He voiced the hope that private investment capital would "flow into Israel when the national wealth paves the way for it."


Eliahu Dobkin, immigration chief of the Jewish Agency, emphasized the danger of a "deadlock in immigration as a result of the depletion of reserves in the Middle East and following the closing of the migration gates of Hungary and Rumania." In an appeal directed to the 7,500,000 Jews living in English-speaking countries, Mr. Dobkin said the "hour has struck for every Zionist to ask himself whether he is now prepared to immigrate to Israel."

In recent weeks, he recalled, "we witnessed the controversy in the United States in which Premier Ben Gurion was charged with sabotaging the efforts of the United Jewish Appeal because of his daring to urge the immigration (to Israel) of American Jews." It is, therefore, Mr. Dobkin continued, "imperative" to demand implementation of the full principles of Zionism. Jews living outside Israel must be told, he concluded, that "whoever considers himself a Zionist must of duty come to Israel."

Levi Eshkol, Jewish Agency treasurer, stated that the settlement and agricultural programs alone of the Keren Hayesod involve an expenditure of 30,000,000 pounds (approximately $84,000,000). Mr. Eahkol also said he was "privileged and grateful to announce that in recent days" thousands of immigrants in reception camps in Israel have "developed an eager tendency to settle on the land."

In a massage to the parley, President Chaim Weizmann stressed that creation of the Jewish state required "Zionist high tension and Zionist volunteer contributions from the entire Jewish people, both here and abroad, for the speeding up of the ingathering from the dispersion, and for creation of conditions of absorption for masses" of immigrants. The Keren Hayesod, the Israel President’s message continued, is the "only instrument for realization of the Zionist vision."

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund