WASHINGTON (Nov. 29)
Israel’s role in the development of new Afro-Asian states was lauded by President James M. Nabrit, Jr., of Howard University, a Negro institution, in an address sponsored here today by the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington. He also commented on controversial minority problems he observed during a recent study tour of Israel.
Mr. Nabrit, explaining the slow assimilation of Afro-Asian Jews in Israel, said that since the European Jew, a product of Western civilization, arrived first in Israel, he occupied a leading status and vocational position while Afro-Asian Jews were generally employed as unskilled laborers. This problem, he said, provided propaganda ammunition for Israel’s enemies because “when people see only dark persons in inferior positions and white persons only in higher positions, no explanation will really satisfy (observers) that race is not a factor.”
The university president said that the kibbutz concept appeared to him to have once been of great importance in Israel’s development. But, he added, “I look on the kibbutzim like we lock on our frontier practices in America–great in their time but of increasingly less value now.” He depicted Israel as “a dynamic country, attuned to an historic destiny, committed to a prophetic role and certain to succeed.”
Mr. Nabrit spent a month in Israel observing mainly the educational facilities, the integration of minorities, and similar matters. Many African and Asian students, under various educational exchange programs, attend Howard University which Mr. Nabrit heads.