Americans of All Faiths Salute Israel at Independence Hall Ceremony
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Americans of All Faiths Salute Israel at Independence Hall Ceremony

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Americans of all creeds joined here today at Independence Hall, cradle of American freedom, to mark the tenth anniversary of the rebirth of the State of Israel six thousand miles away, to celebrate the achievements of that tiny republic in the space of a single decade, and to strengthen the bonds of friendship and common interest between the two nations.

The event here, which saw Independence Square filled to overflowing as distinguished American statesmen and public leaders joined with representatives of the American Jewish community and of the State of Israel, was the first in a long series of celebrations which will be held in hundreds of American communities from coast to coast during the next few weeks.

President Eisenhower today cabled the following message to Israeli President Yitzhak Ben Zvi on the occasion of today’s celebration of Israel’s tenth anniversary; “It is with great pleasure that I send to yea and to the people of Israel on behalf of the people of the United States of America, felicitations and best wishes on the 10th anniversary of the independence of Israel.”

The thousands who crowded into Independence Square and the millions who followed the ceremonies by television and radio heard former President Harry S. Truman and other distinguished figures hail the achievement of the Jewish State in its first decade and call for renewed support for Israel in the face of the dangers confronting it in the present world situation.

Speakers in addition to Mr. Truman were Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court; Governor George M. Leader, of Pennsylvania; Mayor Richardson Dilworth, of Philadelphia; Ambassador Abba S.Eban, of Israel; former Senator Herbert H. Lehman, general chairman of the American Committee for Israel’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration, and Dr. Israel Goldstein, chairman of the committee.

The day’s festivities began with a luncheon to some 450 members of the committee tendered by the City of Philadelphia. Mayor Dilworth welcomed the city’s guests. Then, the entire party proceeded in a giant motorcade to Independence Hall. There, after pausing briefly to inspect the Liberty Bell, the guests took their places on the platform and program of greetings to Israel took place.

Then Ambassador Eban, Mr. Truman and Sen. Lehman entered a glass-encased booth at one side of the platform where, in full view and hearing of the audience, they exchanged greetings by transatlantic telephone with Premier David Ben Gurion in Jerusalem. The ceremonies were opened with the massing of American and Israeli flags and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah.


In a typically vigorous fighting speech, former President Truman warned the assemblage that the United States must meet the Soviet challenge in the Middle East and he insisted that the American Government “must make it clear that Israel is not on the bargaining table as far as we are concerned, but at the bargaining table, and a full member of the group of nations in the Middle East.”

The former President, voicing pride that he had been the first Chief of State to recognize the State of Israel, noted that ten years are considered a short time in history. But, he pointed out, in this decade, “the people of Israel set up a nation, defended their borders and established internal order. They have created a stable, free and democratic government. They have made wonderful progress in the building of a progressive economy. They have won a secure place in the family of nations.”

Pointing out that Israel’s record of the past ten years “speaks for itself,” Mr. Truman said that the “American people can well be proud of the part they have played in helping the State of Israel to make this great record of achievement and advancement.” The former President noted that there were some problems among the nations in the Middle East that could be settled only by direct negotiation. He expressed belief that the Arab governments would want to negotiate when they “understand that it is in their interest to do so and that they have no hope of negotiating Israel out of existence by backstairs deals with the Soviet Union–or the United States.” He unqualifiedly rejected “any settlement which is based on the idea of requiring Israel to give up any of her territory or any of her rights as a free, sovereign and independent nation.”

This, he said, “went” for the Arab States, too, explaining that “I do not want to see them forced to give up any rights. I want to see them secure so that they can prosper and progress. I think they can best do this in cooperation with Israel and each other, free of domination by either the Soviet Union or the United States–free to join one great Arab Republic if they choose, or to remain as separate nations.” He stressed, however, that “the emphasis has got to be changed from hostility and aggression to cooperation for progress.”

Mr. Truman concluded by predicting a “mighty mission” for Israel in the Middle East and pledged that “we are going to help to make the next ten years of Israel’s history even more brilliant and full of achievement than the past.”


Premier Ben Gurion, in his transoceanic reply to Mr. Truman, said that the people of Israel will “never forget your great share in the rejuvenation of the State of Israel–all that you did before its establishment and after.” He told Mr. Truman that “neither you nor the American people will ever have reason to regret this brotherly love.”

“We are building a state which will serve as a model to the peoples of the lands of the East through its social and spiritual values, its democratic regime and its reverence for the dignity of man,” the Israel Premier said. “We are happy to know that the America people and you–one of its great sons and leaders–share with us the aspirations of our undertaking. We have not come through our first ten years without sacrifices and difficulties, but our faith has never faltered.

“The initial foundation has been laid for a free Israel. We shall continue in our endeavor with added courage in the knowledge that we are not toiling only for the redemption of our people and our land, but also in the cause of the great ideals that unite our free and peace-loving humanity. And we see in you one of its greatest representatives,” Mr. Ben Gurion told Mr. Truman.


Senator Lehman told the gathering that the interest of the United States in the Middle East is vital and our future peace and security is inextricably bound up with it. He called on the American Government to reject schemes for the truncation of Israel and to propose a positive program for the Middle East of “constructive economic undertakings open to the participation of all nations willing to cooperate in common activities towards the goal of progress and peace in the Middle East.”

He stressed that “it should be made clear that the question is no longer whether Israel should be accepted as a permanent fact in the Middle East. Israel. “he exclaimed, “is a permanent fact. The question is whether the Arab nations will cooperate among themselves and with Israel to preserve peace in the Middle East, and work together with Israel to promote the betterment of the lives of all the people of the area.”

He declared that “surrounded by danger and enveloped with hostility, the people of Israel have not only established a state with a durable order, but have valiantly defended and advanced the principles of humanitarianism, liberty and social justice. The building of the temple of freedom and of faith has gone on without interruption.” Americans, he added, must have a “profound appreciation” for the achievements of Israel and “for the dangers to which Israel continues to be exposed, we must have a deep sense of concern.”


Chief Justice Warren hailed “the youngest old democracy and the oldest young democracy on the face of the earth.” He declared that the United States had prospered because it had “adhered to the simple truths and to the teachings of the Scriptures. Likewise, will Israel prosper because it, too, bases its hope for the future upon the teachings of the past

He pointed to the symbolic meeting being held in front of the edifice housing the Liberty Bell which has upon it writings in Hebrew from the Bible. “Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof.” It is natural, he said, “that Americans should think of the land of Israel as the source of our law and ethics. When the restoration of Israel as a nation became an active international policy, the U.S. joined in the act of the United Nations to bring Israel’s rebirth to its recognized consummation.”

Ambassador Eban said: “Few events in history are linked by so many difficulties as the American Revolution and the rebirth of Israel’s statehood. The vision of a free Jewish homeland has lived within the American thought and sentiment since the days of the founding fathers, who looked to ancient Israel as the sanctuary of their liberation ideals.

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