NEW YORK (Jul. 15)
The opening ceremony today of the first Israel industrial exposition ever held in the United States, attended by more than 300 Jewish leaders, was formally dedicated to the memory of the late Eliezer Kaplan, who was buried today in Jerusalem. The ceremony was addressed by Israel Ambassador Abba Eban, Mayor Vincent R. Impellitteri and leaders of the Israel bond drive, which is sponsoring the exposition.
The Israel Consulate here today held a memorial meeting at which Ambassador Eban and Consul Eliezer Doron delivered eulogies. Benjamin Mintz, Deputy Speaker of the Israel Parliament who is now in the United States, recited the El Mole prayer.
A memorial meeting was also held today on the premises of the Israel Government Supply Mission. The meeting was attended by the entire staffs here of the Israel, Treasury office, the Supply Mission and its Defense Section, Materials for Israel and the Israel Manufacturers Association. Dr. Martin Rosenbluth, representative of Israel’s Ministry of Finance, and Aryeh Manor, head of the Supply Mission, paid tribute to Mr. Kaplan.
EXPOSITION TO BE OPENED TO PUBLIC ON THURSDAY
The Israel exposition, located at Rockefeller Plaza, will be opened to the public on Thursday and will remain open for several months. It comprises 45 separate exhibits of goods made in Israel for home consumption and export. Speaking at today’s opening ceremony, Ambassador Eban said:
“From the first moment of our independent sovereignty and even before the establishment of Israel the nation laid upon the sturdy shoulders of Eliezer Kaplan the full and onerous burden of providing the means for its security, its political stability, its progress towards economic development, the expansion of its agriculture and industries, the procurement of food and other basic requirements. It was quite clear that in all this he was not merely responsible for Israel’s source of life but was a central pillar of its very existence.” He eulogized Mr. Kaplan as a man “humble, serene and tranquil, possessed of a spirit of self-sacrifice, exemplary public service and devotion to his people.”
Mayor Impellitteri, paying tribute to Mr. Kaplan, said: “It was my great privilege to lunch with him when I was in Israel last year. At that time he was Minister of Finance of the State of Israel. His was the difficult task of finding the money to keep Israel moving in the only direction he knew – forward. He combined the rare qualities of practical and visionary statesmanship. A few hours with him convinced me that Israel had the leadership to steer it through its most difficult hours.” Mr. Impellitteri called upon New Yorkers to complete the task “for which Mr. Kaplan gave his life.”
Rudolf G. Sonneborn, president of the Bond drive, who worked closely with Eliezer Kaplan in the flotation of the Israel bond issue in the United States, described him as a man single-minded in his devotion to the success of the Jewish State. He praised Mr. Kaplan for his skill in steering her economy during critical days. “A man of great simplicity and inflexible purpose, he was, in his capacity as Finance Minister, in the thickest part of the battle for the survival of the young nation.” Mr. Sonneborn said. “As chief architect in the launching of the State of Israel Bond issue, he was the key factor in the program to make Israel economically secure.”
ZIONIST AND NON-ZIONIST LEADERS IN U.S. EXPRESS GRIEF
The Joint Distribution Committee, in a statement signed by Paul Baerwald, Edward M.M. Warburg and Moses A. Leavitt, emphasized that Kaplan’s “long and devoted efforts on behalf of homeless and helpless Jews and his great contributions to the establishment and upbuilding of the State of Israel earned him the love and respect of countless thousands. In the efforts of the Joint Distribution Committee on behalf of needy Jews overseas, he proved a devoted co-worker and a wise counselor.”
Rabbi Irving Miller, president of the Z.O.A. said in his statement: “The Zionist Organization of America mourns the passing of a man whose deep convictions and dogged determination have done so much to bring the State of Israel in to being and seeing it through the initial years–so full of trials, so great in promise.” Benjamin G. Browdy, president of the Keren Hayesod in America, emphasized Mr. Kaplan’s “unique contribution to the upbuilding of the State of Israel and its economic system as an integral part of his living for the Jewish people” and “his burning desire that they be given an opportunity to rebuild a culture in their homeland.”
Dr. Israel Goldstein, in his capacity as president of the World Confederation of General Zionists, issued a statement saying: “The death of Eliezer Kaplan has deprived Israel and the Jewish people of one of their noblest sons. No soldier ever offered his life more valiantly on the battlefield than did Eliezer Kaplan on the field of statement eulogizing Mr. Kaplan on behalf of the American Jewish Congress, of which he is president.
The Jewish National Fund of America said: “The passing of Eliezer Kaplan removes from the scene one of the ablest and most devoted servants of the Jewish people. He was one of the foremost architects of the State of Israel. An economist of note, he saw Israel through its most difficult days lavishing his ingenuity on the financial difficulties of the young state.” The statement was signed by Dr. Harris J Levine, J.N.F. president, and Mendel N. Fisher, executive director.
Frank Goldman, B’nai B’rith president, said in a statement: “In a most significant period of Jewish history, Mr. Kaplan came to the forefront as one of the truly great leaders of our people. The breadth of his vision, his selfless devotion to service and his resourcefulness in the face of emergency were bastions of strength in the heroic struggle for their in-gathering into a haven which he helped make free and independent. The stability and progress of Israel will ever be a monument to the memory of Eliezer Kaplan–patriot, statesman and practical idealist.”
Pioneer Women of America and Canada, the Women’s Labor Zionist Organization, sent telegrams of condolence to Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, and to its sister organization, Moetzet Hapoalot, the Working Women’s Council of Israel, expressing the deep sene of loss and sorrow upon Kaplan’s sudden passing. The condolence message were signed by the national president of Pioneer Women, Dr. Sara Feder.
The Jewish National Worker’s Alliance, a labor Zionist order, issued a statement mourning the death of Mr. Kaplan and emphasizing that his demise is “a loss for Israel, for the Zionist movement, for the Jewish people and for the Zionist laborites.” The statement was signed by Meir Brown and Louis Segal, president and secretary of the organization, respectively.