NEW YORK (Apr. 23)
Leaders of American Jewry mourned today the death of Israel’s President, Izhak Ben-Zvi, in messages of condolence to the Israel Government and to the President’s family.
The Jewish Agency for Israel, American section, declared, in a statement issued by Dr. Emanuel Neumann, chairman of the American section, that Mr. Ben-Zvi “personified the highest achievements of Zionist pioneering and self-sacrifice from the beginning of modern Jewish settlement in Israel in the best traditions of Jewish and Zionist leadership.
“As President of the re-born Jewish State, Mr. Ben-Zvi accomplished the unusual task of bridging the distance between the highest office in the state and the humblest of its citizens, turning the Israel Presidency into a focus of brotherly love, of Jewish unity and of the great Jewish tradition of mutual responsibility. His distinguished Jewish personality shed luster on his exalted office,” the statement said.
“His death will be mourned profoundly by Jews the world over and his abiding contributions to the modern Jewish renaissance will enshrine him forever in the annals of the Jewish people and of the Zionist movement,” Dr. Neumann concluded.
UNITED JEWISH APPEAL EXPRESSES ‘PROFOUND SHOCK AND SORROW’
The officers of the United Jewish Appeal expressed their “profound shock and sorrow at the untimely passing of the great President of Israel,” the UJA declared in a statement issued by Joseph Meyerhoff, general chairman. “Meeting and talking with this devoted and irreplaceable leader was always a deeply moving and memorable event for members of the American Jewish community,” the statement added.
“His deep compassionate interest in the coming together in the re-born Jewish homeland of immigrants from all corners of the earth, his intense concern for their welfare, their resettlement and absorption, and his understanding of and wise counsel toward the work of the United Jewish Appeal in carrying out and implementing the task of immigration and absorption were an everlasting inspiration,” the UJA officers emphasized. “To have known Izhak Ben-Zvi, a man among men, was one of the greatest honors life could have bestowed on us as Americans and as Jews.”
The officers of the Israel Bond Organization paid tribute to President Ben-Zvi as a great statesman who was “an inspiration to two generations of builders of the Jewish homeland.” Abraham Feinberg, president of the Bond Organization, and Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, vice-president, said that the death of President Ben-Zvi was a tragic loss to the entire Jewish people as well as to the State of Israel.
The Zionist Organization of America, in a statement issued by its president, Dr. Max Nussbaum, declared that Mr. Ben-Zvi would rank in history “alongside such great historical forerunners of the Zionist movement as Moses Hess, Leon Pinsker and Zvi Kalisher who prepared the groundwork for Dr. Theodor Herzl in presenting to the world his “Jewish State” and his convening of the first World Zionist Congress.”
ZIONIST, NON-ZIONIST GROUPS CITE BEN-ZVI’S DEVOTION TO JEWRY
Hadassah, in a statement by Mrs. Siegfried Kramarsky, declared that the passing of Mr. Ben-Zvi “is a profound loss not only for the State of Israel but for World Jewry. President Ben-Zvi devoted his life to the service of the Jewish people and to the advancement of human freedom and human dignity for all mankind. An architect, of the State of Israel, he was a tireless exponent of peace and the principles of democracy. With the passing of President Ben-Zvi, the world has lost a great man.”
The American Jewish Committee said President Ban-Zvi “was universally respected as a man whose values were rooted in human dignity and creativity. By his lifelong interest and devotion to the problems of Jewish communities, particularly in the under developed countries, he symbolized the ancient humanitarian tradition of the Jewish people.”
The American Jewish Congress declared that the devotion with which Mr. Ben-Zvi “served the Jewish people, his warmth and kindliness as a human being and the integrity which suffused his administration as President will live not only in the memory of those who knew him but in the institutions of Jewry which he helped to build.”
B’nai B’rith said that “Jerusalem has lost a courageous and resourceful leader of its historic resistance during the War of Independence and the citizens of Israel a beloved head of state. Perhaps above all, the Jewish people mourn the loss of one of its most precious possessions, a great and noble scholar.”
Statements mourning the death of President Ben-Zvi were also issued by the National Committee for Labor Israel, the American Friends of the Hebrew University, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Synagogue Council of America, the Farband, and others.
The American Zionist Council, sponsor of the New York celebration of Israel’s 15th Anniversary Independence Day, said today that a memorial tribute for President Ben-Zvi will be added to the event which will take place April 28.