JERUSALEM (Nov. 10)
A hushed Parliament today heard Premier David Ben Gurion eulogize Chaim Weizmann as “not just great, but the greasiest” Jew of his generation. The deputies’ seats were all occupied and distinguished visitors, including Dr. Weizmann’s son Benjamin and other members of the President’s family, crowded the galleries. The President’s box was draped in black.
“Yesterday was the tragic end of a struggle which even the greatest cannot escape,” Premier Ben Gurion told the Knesset. “And Weizmann was not just great, he was the greatest of his generation.” The Premier added that the President had been for tens of years the ideological and practical focus of the Jewish people, the “focus of vision and of realization of the Jewish nation which prepared the establishment of the state. He was unparalleled in this.”
Dr. Weizmann was not the first such Jewish leader, Premier Ben Gurion assented. “Wonderful personalities who accomplished great things preceded him, one in the practical field, others in the ideological: Edmond Rothschild, Theodor Herzl. Each was unique in his sphere. ” But, continued Mr. Ben Gurion, “what Rothschild did not accomplish with his millions, what Herzl did not accomplish with his bewitching personality was achieved by Weizmann because blended harmoniously in his personality was vision and practical colonization work.
“Both parts stemmed from the deepest sources of his nation as well as from the world’s knowledge, and this was the secret of his greatness, the secret of his influence on his own people and on other nations.”
Premier Ben Gurion stressed that “it was not anti-Semitism that converted Weizmann to Zionism, but Jewishness was its source. ” Contrasting Dr. Weizmann’s background with that of Dr. Herzl, founder of modern Zionism, Mr. Ben Gurion pointed out that Dr. Herzl came to the Jewish people “from outside,” but stressed that Dr. Weizmann did not come “from the West, from assimilated and estranged Jewries. He from within, from sources saturated with Jewish culture and the people’s life.”
The Premier was preceded by the Acting President and Speaker of the House, Joseph Sprinzak, who called Dr. Weizmann a “people’s President, a man of the people.” Also comparing Dr. Herzl with Dr. Weizmann, Mr. Sprinzak declared “Herzl was the builder of Zionism, the herald of the State. Weizmann was the man who realized Zionism, the President of the State. Both names are combined in the nation’s conscience.”
The Knesset adjourned after the Premier spoke and will not meet again until next Monday.