Kennedy Asked to Arrange Ben-gurion–nasser Meeting in Washington

Rabbi Bernard Bergman, national president of the Religious Zionists of America, today opened the four-day annual convention of the organization by appealing to President-elect John F. Kennedy “to arrange a speedy meeting in Washington between Prime Minister Ben-Gurion of Israel and President Nasser of Egypt, for the ultimate objective of establishing a firm, enduring and stable peace in the Middle East.” Rabbi Bergman delivered his presidential address before 600 delegates assembled in the Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City.

“Senator Kennedy has constantly pledged his good offices to effectuate a fair and honorable settlement between the Arab countries and Israel,” Rabbi Bergman said. “Both major political parties are committed in their solemn election platforms to strive to terminate the state of tension and strife which has plagued the Middle East during the past decade. Peace and friendly relations among the Middle Eastern states are absolutely indispensable to prevent any further Soviet incursions into that strategic military sector of the world.

“The American Government,” he pointed out, “has a vitally historic mission to resort to effective and powerful means to safeguard Israel and her neighbors from Communist attempts at economic penetration, military dominance, and political seizures. By setting up a climate of peaceful communications and dealings between Israel and the Arab nations, the whole Middle East will experience a vast social revolution in such momentous fields as social hygiene, scientific research and medical progress.”

Rabbi Bergman praised the State of Israel for “its stupendous contribution” to the economic and social strides of the newly developed communities of Asia and Africa. “The Arab countries,” he said, “would benefit immeasurably from Israel’s great reservoir of gifted, trained and competent personnel if they abandoned their foolhardy and nonsensical program of bestiality, venom and rancor toward Israel. The Arabs are in desperate need of social welfare measures to overcome their horrible conditions of poor health, malnutrition, illiteracy, squalor, and emotional instability.”

Rabbi Bergman continued by criticizing the State Department for “allowing the Arab leaders to carry on a vicious campaign of indefensible blackmailing, immoral boycotting and shady political pressuring against American business enterprises which maintain commercial associations with Israel.” He concluded his address by appealing to the American and world Jewish community “to adopt rigorous counter-measures to mitigate the vicious effects of Arab chicanery and trickery in the use of their boycott techniques.”

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