JERUSALEM (Jun. 6)
Premier U Nu of Burma completed a nine-day visit of Israel and flew from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, by El Al-Israel National Airlines, today Premier U Nu won the hearts of the Israel people during his stay, having met Israelis of all walks of life in their homes, at their jobs and during their hours of relaxation and recreation.
Just before the visit ended, Premiers U Nu and Moshe Sharett, at a press conference issued a statement of friendship of their two nations. The Burmese statesman also declared that he would be happy to act as a mediator between Israel and the Arab states, but only if he were asked by both sides. He stressed that he has not yet been asked to act in such capacity by either side.
Both Premiers announced that Burma will send a number of young people to Israel to study kibbutz life, which greatly impressed the visiting Premier. Mr. U Nu stressed that the Burmese delegations to Israel will be chosen with extreme care. Mr. Sharett disclosed that Premier U Nu had offered to send 100 coconut palms and 10 tons of rice to Defense Minister David Ben Gurion in appreciation of the drive to conquer the desert, which was undertaken during Mr. Ben Gurion’s Premiership.
Asked at the press conference to comment on his impressions of Israel’s religious life, the Premier took the unusual step of speaking “on the soul of the nation,” noting first that as an outsider it might be better for him to remain silent, but that “as a friend, I think I should offer a few remarks.”
ADVISES ISRAELIS TO STRENGTHEN THEIR RELIGION
He advised his listeners to “strengthen your faith as much as possible” if firm foundations are to be laid for the State of Israel. “The people of Israel belong to one of the earliest races of mankind,” Premier U Nu continued, “but in the long course of history they have been subjected to a series of persecutions. Despite these, the Jews have now recovered their old land and are rebuilding their way of life. It seems to me that the main reason behind the brave refusal to become extinct is your faith in Judaism.”
Before the press conference, Premier U Nu had visited with Chief Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog and had discussed with him the principles of Judaism and general religious problems. During the 90-minute visit, the Burmese asked numerous questions about Judaism, both about its philosophical bases and questions pertaining to kashruth and ritual.
The Premier’s last official function during the visit was his attendance at a dinner given for him by President Itzhak Ben Zvi. Afterwards, he planted a tree in the President’s garden to mark his visit to the Jewish State. He was accompanied to the airfield by Premier Sharett, David Ben Gurion and Levi Eshkol and other members of the Israel Cabinet.