WASHINGTON (Sep. 23)
A campaign for the sale of $45,000,000 in State of Israel Bonds between now and the end of 1956 was launched today by 800 Jewish community leaders at the closing session of a two-day Mobilization Conference for Israel. A highlight of the drive will be Israel bond events in 70 American communities in honor of the 70th birthday of Israel Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. The birthday will be celebrated on October 16.
A total of $30,974,350 in Israel bonds has been sold since the beginning of the year, according to a report presented by Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, vice president of the Israel Bond Organization, to the conference. The total of Israel bond sales since the drive began in 1951 has now reached $247,552,700, the report revealed. This year’s sales to date represent an increase of approximately 40 percent over the same period in 1955.
Israel Ambassador Abba Eban reported to the conference that Israel has grown stronger militarily. He reported that “in recent months” the United States and Israel “have drawn closer together, both in our appraisal of Middle Eastern events and in our estimate of the measures necessary for Israel’s strength and security.”
EBAN REPORTS ON GROWING UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN U. S., ISRAEL
The Ambassador stated that efforts of Israel to obtain modern arms “have not substantively failed.” He said: “Indeed, amongst the transactions which have made Israel stronger, one or two have been publicly announced. We owe appreciation to all the governments whose action, authorization and influence have helped us to record new accretions to our defensive strength.” He cited a May 8 statement by Secretary of State Dulles expressing belief that “wide discrepancies” in military strength between Israel and the Arab states should be removed.
“This mutually accepted principle has dominated the discussions between our two governments on arms questions in recent months, Mr. Eban declared. “From this common ground of principle we have been able to achieve a measure of fruitful cooperation and understanding.” Reviewing contributions by the United States to “Israel’s economic and social progress,” he said that “since 1952 these programs have brought $270,000,000 to Israel.
Mr. Eban said that world opinion was growing against President Nasser of Egypt and that “even in quarters where complacency once prevailed it is now recognized that a victory by Egyptian nationalism over the maritime powers would be followed by an assault against Israel.”
The Ambassador stressed that “the nations which are now shocked by Egypt’s policies would be wise to recognize one thing–that no government is in a good position to assert is own rights if it allows an identical and equivalent right to be denied to others.” He referred to the barring of Israel shipping from the Suez Canal by Egypt.
Pointing out that Israel incurred great expense to arm, he said. “The strengthening of our economy and financials structure now moves to the highest place in our system of priorities:” He urged support of the Israel bond campaign. At the same time, the Ambassador drew attention to the fact that Israel’s danger of attack from Egypt had been publicly attested to by British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden and by other experienced diplomats.
ESHKOL APPEALS TO U.S. JEWRY; SAYS ISRAEL FACES DANGER OF WAR
Israel Finance Minister Levi Eshkol told the conference that Israel, because of the flow of Communist arms shipments to the Arabs, finds itself required to make heavy defense expenditures which “can have a dangerous effect on the future of our economy.” He emphasized that “the more we spend on defense, the less we have for economic development.” He told the conferees that “never before has Israel needed the proceeds of the bonds as urgently as today.”
The Arab League is now spending “more than one billion dollars a year for military purposes, “Mr. Eshkol declared. If Israel is weak, he said, Egyptian dictator Nasser may attack her. “Nasser may do so in the flush and confidence of victory, if he wins his present Suez gamble. And if he loses he may attack in order to recoup his lost prestige which is the mainstay of dictators,” the Israel Minister stated. But if Israel is sufficiently strong, he added, “there will be no war.”
Mr. Eshkol pointed out that the billion dollars or more spent annually by the Arabs for modern arms did not take into account the bargain rates or outright gifts. He said the Arabs already have 342 jet fighter planes, 1,100 modern medium and heavy tanks, and powerful naval craft including submarines.
Although so much is required for arms, Mr. Eshkol said, Israel could not afford to neglect economic development “because in the long run it will stand or fall on the strength and health of its economy.” A slack in development, he warned, “not only limits immigration and absorption, but also weakens the economy; and there cannot be defensive strength without a growing and strong economy.”
SILVER URGES U. S. TO ABANDON ITS “BLUNDERING” MID-EAST POLICY
Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver told the conference here that “there is no doubt in my mind that the present Munich appeasement line, vis-a-vis the dictator in Egypt and the Arab states generally, will have to be abandoned before long.” Speaking as chairman of the Bond Organization board of governors, Rabbi Silver said:
“The objectives which were sought through this appeasement policy have completely eluded the western world. It was a false, and it has now been proven to be a bankrupt policy. It opened the doors wide for Communist penetration, and it has encouraged Arab flaunting of the interests of the free-world.” Rabbi Silver stressed, however, that “until such time as this blundering policy will be finally abandoned, and the Western governments unite firmly in the defense of the interests of the free world in the Middle East, Israel, which has been imperiled, must look to its own defenses and to the support which its friends in all parts of the world can bring to it.”
Philip Klutznick, B’nai B’rith president, told delegates it was “a dangerous illusion to believe that the peril of Israel’s existence could be dissolved completely by diplomatic solutions on arms parity with the Arab states.” He said: “The bread and butter problem of correcting the imbalances of her economic life-a condition brought on by her need to finance a war economy-must be answered if Israel’s survival is to be meaningful.”
Mr. Klutznick urged a program to provide substantial increases in U. S. aid grants and loans, foreign investment through Israel bonds, direct capitalization by foreign businessmen through enterprises in Israel, and free dollars through the United Jewish Appeal.
Abraham Feinberg, president of the Bond Organization, who presided at the dinner session, said the coming three months “may well prove decisive for Israel’s future for a long time to come.” He said “Israel counts on American Jews to respond to its crisis by raising record sums for the Israel bond campaign.”
Mayor Gershort Agron of Jerusalem told the conference “we have every reason to doubt the ability of the great powers to restrain our impetuous, petulant and enraged neighbors, particularly the tyrant to the south, Colonel Nasser…we have, moreover, every reason to fear that it is his implacable intention to make good the threats he never tires of uttering, that at a time which will appear to him as opportune, he will do his best–with the help of such allies as he can muster and master–to wipe Israel off the face of the map.”
The Mayor reported that despite the necessity for preparing against attack, Israel was continuing to make “vast strides in its economic development program.”