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Embassy Reveals Details of Offer of Israel Presidency to Einstein

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The Embassy of Israel today issued the following statement:

“On November 16th, Ambassador Eban, on instructions from the Prime Minister, had a conference with Professor Einstein in the course of which he inquired whether, if elected by the Knesset, Professor Einstein would accept the Presidency of Israel. Dr. Einstein replied that moved as he was by the deep honor implied in the question he was compelled to give a negative answer.

“On November 17th, Ambassador Eban addressed a letter to Dr. Einstein suggesting that he give further consideration to this question in view of its importance and solemnity. In the letter sent to Professor Einstein, Mr. Eban wrote:

“I am anxious for you to feel that the Prime Minister’s question embodies the deepest respect which the Jewish people can repose in any of its sons. To this element of personal regard, we add the sentiment that Israel is a small state in its physical dimensions, but can rise to the level of greatness in the measure that it exemplifies the most elevated spiritual and intellectual traditions which the Jewish people has established through its best minds and hearts both in antiquity and in modern times. Our first President, as you know, taught us to see our destiny in these great perspectives as you yourself have often exhorted us to do!’

“On November 18th, Mr. David Goiten, Minister at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, representing Ambassador Eban, received a written message from Professor Einstein. In this message Professor Einstein reiterated that he was deeply moved by the suggestion but found it impossible for him to accept it. He went on to say:

“‘Since all my life I have been dealing with the world of objects, I have neither the natural ability nor the experience necessary to deal with human beings and to carry out official functions. For these reasons I do not feel able to fulfill the requirements of this great task, even were my advanced age not to limit my strength to an increasing extent.

“‘This situation is indeed extremely sad for me because my relation to the Jewish people has become my strongest human attachment ever since I reached complete awareness of our precarious position among the nations.

“‘After we have lost in recent days the man who among adverse and tragic circumstances bore on his shoulders for many years the whole burden of leadership of our striving for independence from without, I wish from all my heart that a man be found who by his life’s work and personality may dare to assume this difficult and responsible task.”‘

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