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Ben Gurion Lauds U.S. Jewry; Hopes for Jewish Emigration from Russia

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The State of Israel, “to safeguard its security, requires the addition of at least two million more Jews” in the immediate future, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion today told delegates to the International Jewish Ideological Conference taking place at the Hebrew University.

“The decisive political problem of Israel is the problem of security and the solution of this problem does not lie in the organization of a first-class army,” he said. “The survival and peace of the State of Israel will be safeguarded by one thing and one thing alone — large-scale immigration. “

He called the cutting-off of one-third of European Jewry by the Bolshevik Revolution and the extermination of most of the remaining two-thirds by Nazism “two appalling disasters.” He contrasted these tragedies with the “second change, the beneficial one of the growth of the great Jewish center in the United States from one million to five million.” He said the development of American Jewry was more than a gain of quantitative growth because “this Jewry became in our day the political, material and cultural metropolis of Diaspora Jewry. “

“Although the ideology of assimilation struck no roots in American Jewry, assimilation in practice has been growing constantly, ” he stated. He refrained from any critical comment on this point. After referring to the “growing division” of the Jewish people, the Premier said that “the State of Israel has become the central pillar on which the unity of Diaspora Jewry rests.”

If the Soviet Government would permit emigration, at least half of Russia’s Jews would come to Israel, Mr. Ben Gurion declared. He added that entire Jewish people “must prepare for this possibility. ” Asserting he had greater hopes of large scale immigration from Russia than from the United States, he said: “The Jewish problem in Russia is becoming more than troublesome even from the Russian viewpoint and it is not impossible that ultimately, perhaps in the next few years, the Russians may arrive at the only real solution: Opening the gates for Aliyah to Israel.”

“Had it not been for the rise of Israel,” he said, “Soviet Jewry would have been sooner or later condemned to disappear in the Jewish sense. ” He added that anti-Semitism, although legally forbidden in the Soviet Union, has neither ceased nor weakened. This fact, no less than the existence of Israel, encourages and strengthens Jewish feelings among Russian Jews, he asserted.

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