Kennedy Hails Israel’s ‘democracy’ As Capital Observes 14th Anniversary
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Kennedy Hails Israel’s ‘democracy’ As Capital Observes 14th Anniversary

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With a special Israel Independence Day message from President Kennedy, a resolution in the House of Representatives signed by 180 Congressmen belonging to both major parties, formal speeches at the Capitol, and a luncheon attended by many diplomats as well as Republican and Democratic dignitaries, Washington today celebrated the rebirth of modern Israel, 14 years ago. The President’s message, sent to New York’s Mayor Robert F. Wagner, who presided at special Israel Independence Day ceremonies in the metropolis, stated:

“I understand that, at a City Hall ceremony on May 9, the City of New York will help mark the fourteenth anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. This is an important anniversary–not only as an historical event, but because of the consequences for the cause of freedom. All Americans–whatever their religious faith or traditions–applaud the freedom and democracy which have found expression in Israel. It is fitting that you salute this occasion in this fashion. Please convey to all those who will be participating in the observance at City Hall my very warm greetings and regards.”


The House resolution, hailing Israel on its 14th anniversary as an independent state, and calling on the United States to “be in the vanguard of world opinion pressing for Arab-Israel peace” was presented to the House of Representatives by Democratic Congressman Emanuel Celler, of New York. The measure carried the endorsement of 180 other members of both political parties from every area of the nation.

The resolution, which noted that “the people of Israel are still denied the blessings of peace,” and that they must “continue to adjust themselves to a state of belligerence on the part of their neighbors,” touched off a round of tributes on Capitol Hill in commemoration of the event. The measure lauded Israel for its great progress in rehabilitating the land, developing its economy, encouraging cultural, artistic and scientific pursuits in the face of a series of adversities, and providing a “sanctuary for more than a million refugees and immigrants.”

Eleven members joined Mr. Celler in introducing and circulating the petition among their House colleagues. They were Democrats Wayne Hays of Ohio and Leonard Farbstein, Edna Kelly, Abraham Multer and John Rooney, all of New York; and Republicans Joseph Martin–former Speaker of the House–and Laurence Curtis, both of Massachusetts; James Fulton of Pennsylvania; Horace Seely-Brown of Connecticut; and Seymour Halpern and Jessica Weis of New York. Among the signatories were House Speaker John McCormack, of Massachusetts, and Democratic Congressman Thomas Morgan, of Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The resolution expressed the hope “that the Administration will pursue a policy, both within and without the United Nations, which firmly rejects all forms of aggression, and which will make it clear to all Governments in the Middle East that we do not condone war and that we persist in the search for peace as the major goal of American policy in the region.”


At another of the capital’s major Israel Independence Day events, at which former Gov. Theodore R. McKeldin of Maryland, a Republican, presided, Israel was lauded for having “triggered” a chain reaction in international cooperation by “doing for others what the people of America did for the Israelis.” That praise came from Bruce W. McDaniel, first director of the United States Technical Assistance Mission to Israel in 1951.

More than 300 members of the America-Israel Society, headed by former Gov. McKeldin, attended the luncheon, as well as members of the diplomatic corps, U.S. Government officials, members of Congress and other dignitaries. The society was established under the Eisenhower Administration in 1954 to strengthen cultural relations between the United States and Israel.

Mr. McDaniel paid tribute to Israel’s technical ability and its rapid conversion of American-supplied aid to useful production. He declared:

“There was no need for crash programs in Israel. The Israelis understood the need to build from the bottom, soundly, and realized that they would have to eat less, work harder and wait until the newly planted citrus, olives and carob trees could bear, the dams and reservoirs could be built, the water developed for irrigation–and by mutual insistence. There were strings on every project, specific plans to make certain that time, manpower and resources were used only for indispensable, deliberated schemes, which could be understood and completed.”

In another luncheon address, Mordecai Gazit, Israel Charge d’Affaires, in the absence of Ambassador Avraham Harman, who is currently in Israel, expressed his nation’s gratitude for United States aid.

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