Ambassador Harman Decries Arab Talk of ‘wiping Out’ Israel

Avraham Harman, newly-appointed Israel Ambassador to the United States, said tonight in his first public address here that Arab talk of wiping out Israel is less realistic today than it was eleven years ago when “that policy was tried out by the Arabs and failed.”

Defense vigilance, Ambassador Harman declared, is a great drain on Israel’s manpower and financial resources. “But, in accepting this burden as they always have and always will, the people of Israel will never forget what it is that they are defending–the right of their children to live freely and their right through their own efforts and hard work, to live a better and fuller life,” he emphasized.

Mr. Harman spoke at a reception in his honor which was held by the American Zionist Council, information arm of the American Zionist movement. The supper-meeting, held at the Hotel Commodore, was the first opportunity for the Zionist leadership in New York to welcome the newly-appointed Ambassador. More than 600 persons attended. Other speakers were Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization and chairman of the Jewish Agency, who spoke of the friendly relations existing between the United States and Israel, and Rabbi Irving Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council, who presided.

“The Middle East is still, unfortunately, an exception to a historic process which all men of good-will hope will develop and gain strength,” Ambassador Harman said. “This process involves the conduct of direct communication both as an expression of a desire to reach a settlement of disputes and as an essential condition for an approach to such a settlement.

“In relation to the Arab-Israel situation the preparedness for such a direct communication is still lacking on the Arab side and instead, one still hears wild talk from the highest Arab quarters, of preparations to wipe out Israel. Anybody visiting Israel today will soon convince himself that this talk is even less realistic than it was eleven years ago.”

Mr. Harman went on to describe important advances by Israel in recent years, particularly in those areas which “are the sure foundation of national strength.” After referring to the increase in economic production and the export of Israel goods and services, he spoke of Israel’s advances in education. He also said that Israel is not likely to rest content with the advances already made in the field of scientific research.

Referring to the election campaign now being conducted in Israel, Mr. Harman said it was “proof of Israel’s democratic system.” Two aspects of the pre-election campaign which he found “positive and encouraging” were that among the campaigners and the audiences, the “place of locally-born and educated youth was much more pronounced than in past years,” which he described as “an indication of the rooted quality of Israel’s growing citizenship,” and also that relatively new immigrants were “already providing political and civic leadership on a national and local level.”

DR. GOLDMANN SEES MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN U.S. AND ISRAEL

Dr. Goldmann declared that Ambassador Harman is assuming his post at a time when there are no great problems in the relations between Israel and the United States. “There was hardly a period,” Dr. Goldmann said, “when Israel-American relations have been so friendly and based on full mutual understanding as is the case now and there is every reason to hope that this will continue.”

The world Zionist leader asserted that American Jewry and the Zionist movement in this country “will have the opportunity to benefit from the advice of Ambassador Harman on the problems of organizing the relationship between American Jewry and Israel in the various fields of cooperation.”

Speaking of the Ambassador’s familiarity with American Jewish life which he gained as Israel’s Consul-General in New York for several years beginning in 1953, Dr. Goldmann declared that this awareness of the intricate problems of American Jewry will help him “make a great contribution in cementing and shaping the forms of cooperation between Israel and the American Jewish community.”

Dr. Goldmann characterized the new ambassador as one of those Israeli statesmen who, having the fullest understanding of the problems of American Jewry and the Zionist Movement, sees the need for “cementing the links between Jewish communities all over the world and Israel. He has remained, in this respect, a Zionist in the fullest sense of the word.”

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