NEW YORK (Feb. 2)
More than 1,500 guests, each paying $125 a ticket, tonight attended the annual dinner-concert of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel at which President Eisenhower and Israel Prime Minister David Ben Gurion spoke in films specially prepared last week in Washington and Jerusalem, calling for a cultural exchange between the two nations.
Samuel Rubin, president of the Foundation, highlighting the views of the President and the Prime Minister, described the program of the Foundation for a cultural exchange in the next year. “The very meaning of cultural exchange,” he said, “is that it is a means towards the establishment of peace.” Mr. Rubin urged the world to set up a Middle East Economic and Cultural Authority to bring permanent peace between the Arabs and Jews. He pointed out that much of the western civilization that we know today sprang from contributions of the early Jews and Arabs.
“History confirms that Jews were pioneers of cultural exchange in our Western civilization, ” he said. “The emergence of Christianity and Islam from Judaism was a form of cultural exchange. Long before the printing press, telegraph, and radio, the wandering Jew, moving across the world from land to land, from civilization to civilization, carried one country’s culture into another. Through Arab sources they carried Greek culture into a Europe emerging from the dark ages. The Renaissance is deeply indebted to Jews and Arabs. There is, therefore, special significance in the re-emergence of Israel in the Arab world which may yet bring another great Renaissance to mankind.”
Both President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Ben Gurion paid tribute to the role of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation in developing cultural relations between the United States and Israel. They paid a similar tribute to Leonard Bernstein, noted conductor, who was presented at the concert-dinner with a gold baton, made by an Israeli craftsman, for his “leading role in the cultural exchange program between the United States and Israel by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.” Yaacov Herzog, Israel Minister to the U. S. , was one of the principal speakers at the function.
Mr. Herzog paid tribute to Eisenhower and Ben Gurion. “These two personalities have in their lifetime become legends of history,” he said. “They both believe that if mankind is to survive the momentum of its own physical progress, to redeem its destiny from perilous confusion, suspicion and fear, it must recognize the supremacy of spiritual values and cultural qualities.”