U. J. A. Convention Opens in Israel; Need for Mutual Understanding Stressed
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U. J. A. Convention Opens in Israel; Need for Mutual Understanding Stressed

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A bridge of understanding between Israel’s people and American Jewry is “Indispensable” to the continued development of Israel and the continued emigration of those who need a haven in Israel, Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, executive vice chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, declared at the opening session of the UJA Anniversary Conference here tonight. He urged an intensified educational program to meet this vital problem.

A growing apart of the Israeli public and the American Jewish community “may very well occur unless a growing together is deliberately fostered, “Rabbi Friedman warned in his address before more than 700 Americans and noted Israelis attending the Inaugural session of the three-day conference.

This first UJA national assemblage ever held overseas heard Rabbi Friedman stress that while Israel has made tremendous progress in its first decade, two major problems remain. “Our fellow Jews wherever they are dispersed and distressed must continue to be rescued, and the land of Israel must be strengthened economically so it can absorb these people,” he emphasized.

American Jewry understands and willingly accepts the fact that these twin problems cannot be overcome in a few years but forms a task of an entire generation, the UJA executive head said. “If we cast our thinking in terms of a generation of support, “he added, “then it is obvious that the most important question is that of the future relationship between the Jews of America and Israel.” He pledged that the UJA will intensify its program of interpretation of Israel to American Jewry and expressed the hope that a counterpart program be developed and intensified in Israel.

The speakers at the opening session held in the Wise Auditorium of Hebrew University, included Israel President Itzhak Ben Zvi, U.S. Ambassador Edward B. Lawson, and former Israel Prime Minister Moshe Sharett. Zalman Shazar, acting chairman, the Jewish Agency for Israel, presided. Chief Rabbi I. Halevi Herzog delivered the opening prayer and Chief Rabbi Isaac Nissim gave the benediction.


In welcoming the visitors, President Ben Zvi said the achievements of Israel’s people in their first decade of independence “are not ours alone–they are as well the achievements and victories of the Jews who live beyond our borders and democracy loving people everywhere.” He said Israel would never forget that the United States was the first nation to recognize the birth of Israel, and would never forget the moral support and material help given by the American people during the past decade.

Declaring that Israel’s greatest achievement of the past decade was the taking in of nearly a million immigrants President Ben Zvi added, “in this historic achievement American Jewry has, through the UJA, played an unforgettable role.” He called the aid to Israel from American Jewry through the UJA “our greatest asset-the greatest source of our strength.”

In greeting his countrymen, Ambassador Lawson said “a concern for others” was fundamental to America’s way of thinking and to American governmental policy. “As American citizens,” he declared “we can be proud that our country has done so much to assist in the establishment of this state, in its upbuilding and toward the eventual solution of its problems.”

Mr. Shazar said that obstacles in Israel’s way “have not diminished–nor have those who caused them. Envy and spite surround us. Yet we are certain that all men everywhere who love liberty and justice–whether they are far or near or even very near–will come to understand what a blessing both to them and to us will flow from all we are doing here.” He called the UJA “a marvelous phenomenon, unique in its endurance and scope.” He urged UJA contributors “in the greatest humanitarian effort of the world’s greatest Jewish community” to persevere in their efforts to rescue and rebuild Jewish lives throughout the world.

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