TEL AVIV (Jun. 23)
Israel’s Premier Moshe Sharett last night outlined the stand of the Israel Government toward the American-British-French proposal to strengthen the United Nations truce machinery in Palestine. He spoke at the opening session of the national convention of the General Zionist Party of Israel which is the major partner of Mr. Sharett’s Mapai Party in the government coalition.
“We shall consider carefully and with goodwill every suggestion that might bring near peace for Israel and stability to the Middle East,” he said. “However, any settlement suggested – total or partial – to us must satisfy” the following four conditions: Israel’s existence as a state would have to be guaranteed; its security would have to be guaranteed; its independence would have to be guaranteed; and its development possibilities must be left unhampered.
“We will neither purchase peace nor the prospects of a rapprochement” by sacrificing even one of these conditions, the Premier stressed. He added that relations between Israel and all other countries would be weighed in terms of these four points.
ANTI-ISRAEL “TREND” IN U.S. POLICY REGRETTED; AID HAILED
Dr. Peretz Bernstein, leader of the General Zionist Party, told the 400 delegates and the several thousand observers and guests at the party’s most important gathering in its history that American-Israeli relations had taken an acute turn for the worse. He expressed regret that the U.S. policy had taken this anti-Israel trend. However, he hailed the American contribution to Israel’s economy.
Turning to the economy of Israel, he said that it had made progress towards self-sufficiency since the centrist party had joined the government coalition. He called for currency decontrol, asserting that such action would increase production, attract investments and help develop Israel’s foreign trade. He opposed any wage increases at this time, stating they would hamper efforts to make Israeli products competitive in the world markets.
Commenting on the tasks facing the Zionist movement, Dr. Bernstein demanded new measures to attract more Jews to Israel, noting that the world’s Jewish problems had not yet been solved as the Zionists felt it should be–by the concentration of all Jews in the Jewish homeland. He said that the second generation which is growing up in Israel is unaware of the emotional background which brought Zionism into being. In conclusion, Dr. Bernstein reported that the Progressive Party had shown a readiness to discuss a merger with the General Zionist Party, but added that for the present he had no definite proposals to bring to the membership of the party. Negotiations between the two parties were continuing, he reported. He called on the party to prepare for the coming election campaigns for the Knesset, local offices and the World Zionist Congress.
The convention was also addressed by Berl Locker, co-chairman of the Jewish Agency and a Mapai leader* who discussed the situation in the world Zionist movement, Minister of Interior Israel Rokach, a General Zionist leader, Meir Grossman, and Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog also spoke.
BEN GURION PROPOSES TWO-PARTY SYSTEM FOR ISRAEL
A suggestion that the General Zionist convention discuss the establishment of the two-party system to replace the multiplicity of parties on the Israel political scene, was made by former Premier David Ben Gurion. Replying to an invitation from Dr. Bernstein that he address the parley, Mr. Ben Gurion wrote that the two-party-system would bring greater stability to the state. The former Premier, who is recovering from an illness which forced his hospitalization several weeks ago, expects to be able to return to his home at Sdeh Boker this week.
The conference received greetings from General Zionist parties and leaders from abroad, including top American Zionist figures. Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, in a cable, assured the conference that American Jewry would remain loyal to its undertakings to help Israel’s upbuilding and defense. Rabbi Irving Miller, president of the Zionist Organization of America, hailed the achievements of the centrist party in the country’s development. Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the World Confederation of General Zionists, expressed the pride of General Zionists throughout the world in the party’s participation in the Israel coalition government.