NEW YORK (Dec. 20)
The 70th birthday of Israel President Itchak Ben Zvi was celebrated here yesterday afternoon by the founding of two villages in Israel on the site of ancient Modi’in, birthplace of the Maccabeans, heroes of Israel, who 2,120 years ago fought the Syrians and freed Jerusalem and its Temple from alien domination, an event which has since been observed throughout the Jewish world as the Feast of Lights.
The celebration took place at a luncheon session of the Labor Zionist conference for the Jewish National Fund at the Hotel Commodore. Messages to the conference arrived from President Ben Zvi, Prime Minister of Israel Moshe Sharett and the Speaker of Parliament Joseph Sprinzak. Cabling from Jerusalem to the conference, the President expressed satisfaction that the “festive conference of Labor Zionist organizations, will help, through the Jewish National Fund, to redeem from desolation the birthplace of the Maccabeans and help to revive the spirit of the ancient fighters for Israel’s freedom.”
Premier Sharett, drawing a parallel between the feat of the Maccabeans and the Jewish National Fund, said: “As the Maccabees of old found it necessary to cleanse the sanctuary that had been defiled, so the Jewish National Fund today is clearing the soil of Israel of waste and ruin of ages, is preparing the land for home-coming people.”
Among the speakers at the conference were Louis Lipsky, veteran Zionist leader, Mordecai Reginald Kidron, deputy permanent representative of Israel at the United Nations, Mendel N. Fisher, executive director of the Jewish National Fund, and Louis Segal, secretary general of Farband-Labor Zionist Order.
(In Argentina and Canada, representatives of Jewish organizations marked the 70th birthday of Israel President Ben Zvi. The DAIA expressed Argentine Jewry’s congratulations while the United Zionist Council of Canada sent a cable to the President hailing his “high-mindedness and sacrificial devotion” in office.)