‘our Faith is in American Jews’, Eshkol Tells U.J.A. Mission

Israel will not accept a secondary role in the Middle East and is determined to overcome those tendencies in the present situation which would give the Arab states military supremacy. Premier Moshe Sharett told a “study mission” of 35 American Jewish leaders here today. The mission is sponsored by the United Jewish Appeal.

Arming of the Arab states by the West represents a grave threat to Israel’s safety in view of continued Arab truculence, Mr. Sharett said. He emphasized that arms should be withheld from the Arab states because of the constant incursions across Israel’s borders, because of Egypt’s blockade of the Suez Canal and because of the Arab refusal to make peace with Israel.

He insisted that the grant of such arms would be interpreted by the Arab states as an “endorsement” of their anti-Israel policy and might lead to an attack on Israel.

PLEADS FOR MAXIMUM EFFORT BY AMERICAN JEWRY

At a dinner tonight, given by the Premier for the members of the UJA mission, Levi Eshkol, Finance Minister, paid tribute to the financial assistance given the Jewish State by American Jewry. He called for further and greater efforts on the part of American Jews to help Israel consolidate its position in the face of what he termed a “real danger” that the military and economic equilibrium of the Middle East may be upset adversely for Israel.

“We have put our faith in the American Jews and trust that they will recognize the vital need for added giving, even at the expense of sacrificing some of their activities in the United States,” the Finance Minister said. He warned that any reduction of the UJA’s income in 1955 would seriously undermine the economic progress made by Israel in 1954.

In a comprehensive review of Israel’s economic situation, Mr. Eshkol bailed the UJA’s $65,000,000 “consolidation loan” in behalf of the Jewish Agency. The response to the UJA’s loan campaign was “one of the most glorious episodes in the history of the American Jewish active partnership in building Israel,” he said. Because of the $65,000,000 thus raised, he continued, Israel is now in a position to conduct its financial affairs in a “sensible” fashion.

WARBURG PLEDGES RENEWED EFFORT

Edward M. M. Warburg, UJA general chairman and leader of the “study mission,” replying to Mr. Eshkol, said, “we are encouraged by the fact of all our previous successes., We have had troubles before, great troubles, and somehow we have overcome them not only with dollars but with faith, courage and determination.

“And that is also why we are here. Because we share the same faith and freedom, because we admire your courage and because we are determined to stand with you in your efforts for human betterment.”

Mr. Warburg summed up the task facing the UJA as follows: “Our present job is a constructive job of up building all who have been brought to freedom, and of freedom itself. As long as those goals stand, none of us will relax, none of us will get tired, none will fail to assume his proper share of responsibility.”

Mr. Warburg told the Israel Ministers that “we have been drawn here not only because Israel is a refuge and a sanctuary for the oppressed and homeless, but also because it is the lamplight of freedom in this part of the world.” After touring Israel, the mission will leave for Tunisia and Morocco to investigate the situation of Jews there.

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