NEW YORK (Dec. 27)
A delegation of American Jewish Committee leaders who returned today from a survey and consultative mission to Israel pledged “continuing and increasing efforts to strengthen bridges of understanding between the American Jewish community and Israel.”
At the same time, the Committee representatives stressed that Israel’s accomplishment “in receiving and absorbing hundreds of thousands of immigrants and simultaneously creating a forward-looking democracy is a source of great pride to us as Jews.” They also expressed their belief that Israel will make “a noble contribution to the spiritual development to Jews everywhere.”
The statement hailed Israel’s “dynamic and progressive programs being conducted for the betterment of its people” and “Israel’s brilliant program of assistance to the newly emergent African nations.”
The group spent eight days in Israel, met with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and other top level government officials and traveled throughout the country. It was headed by A.M. Sonnabend, Committee president, and included: Morris B. Abram, chairman, AJC executive board; Herbert B. Ehrmann of Boston, AJC honorary president; Ralph Friedman, chairman, AJC administrative board; Dr. John Slawson, AJC executive vice-president; Dr. Simon Segal, director of the AJC Foreign Affairs Department. It was accompanied by Maximo Yagupsky, director of AJC’s Israel Office.
“We would like to express our great satisfaction with the knowledge we have gained and the friendships we have made during the course of our visit to Israel.” the AJC statement said. “Some of the members of our group had never been in Israel before and some have visited here several times, but all of us were deeply impressed with the great progress which Israel has made during the comparatively brief period of its existence as an independent state.
“While we realize that Israel is still beset by a multitude of problems, both external and domestic, we are convinced by what we have seen that the State will overcome these difficulties and will make a noble contribution to the spiritual development and the morale of Jews everywhere. We also strongly believe that Jews in other countries, especially American Jewry, will do their utmost to continue and increase their cooperation with Israel so that the bridges of understanding will be strengthened through our mutual beneficial influences upon one another,” the statement declared.