Pan-american Jewish Conference Opens in Montevideo; 1,000 Delegates
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Pan-american Jewish Conference Opens in Montevideo; 1,000 Delegates

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The largest Jewish conference in the history of Latin America opened here last night with well over 1,000 delegates gathering to mobilize support for Israel in its current crisis and to express solidarity with the Israeli people.

Uruguayan President Dr. Alberto Zuviria and other government officials received a delegation representing Jews of a number of different Latin American countries. The delegation expressed to Dr. Zuviria the satisfaction of all Jews at the recent transfer of the Uruguayan Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thus recognizing the latter city as Israel’s capital.

Present at today’s session were the Secretary of the Uruguayan National Council; the Uruguayan Ambassador to Jerusalem, Dr. S. Di, Lorenzo; Uruguay’s delegate to the United Nations and one of Israel’s most out spoken friends, Prof. Enrique Rodriguez Fabregat; Dr. Luciano Molinas, leader of the Argentine Progressive Party and a member of the National Consultative Board which acts as the Argentine legislature until a new parliament is elected; Dr. Alfred Palacios, Argentine Ambassador to Montevideo, and Dr. Arieh Kubovi, Israel Ambassador to Argentina and Uruguay.

Messages of greeting were received by the conference from Israel President Itzhak Ben Zvi, Premier David ben Gurion, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett and Speaker of the Knesset Joseph Sprinzak, Berl Locker, co-chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, Dr. Israel Goldstein, chairman of the Western Hemisphere executive of the World Jewish Congress and many other Jewish leaders in many countries. A number of Latin American Christian and Jewish personalities expressed greetings at the parley, speaking in behalf of various groups or in their own names.


At a press conference held just prior to the formal opening of the meeting, Dr. Nahum Goldman, chairman of the Jewish Agency and president of the World Jewish Congress, declared that the conference was convened to underline Israel’s perilous situation and to help Israel continue accepting immigrants from North Africa. Israel’s grave situation, he said, resulted from two things: the refusal of the Arab states to recognize and make peace with Israel, and the entrance of the Soviet bloc in the Middle East situation with its subsequent arming of Egypt at time when Israel is unable to obtain balancing weapons.

The danger of this situation is twofold; Dr. Goldmann continued. The stronger the Arabs become, he stressed, the more extremists among them push for a second round of war against Israel. If Israel remains isolated and receives no arms the feeling of frustration and of desperation also constitutes a danger, despite Premier David Ben Gurion’s statement that Israel will not launch a preventive war.

The solution for this dangerous situation is also twofold, Dr. Goldmann said. First and foremost, the West must supply Israel with defensive arms. Secondly, the West must press for a peace settlement between Israel and the Arabs. On neither position is the West’s policy yet known, he noted, and this conference was called at a time when the pressure on the State Department to modify its position has increased and when the tripartite talks in Washington have still not reached the conclusive stage.

He also noted the need for this conference to plan to meet the financial burden imposed by the North African migratory flow as well as Israel’s defensive effort. He said tribute to Uruguay as one of the most traditionally democratic countries in Latin America and as a friend of Israel. Asked by newsmen about the condition of Jews in the Soviet Union, Dr. Goldmann said that although there is no official discrimination against Jews in the USSR, Soviet policy will cause the disappearance of Jewish life in that country within a generation or two. He appealed for the right of Soviet Jews to maintain minimum contacts with Jewry outside the Soviet Union.

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