Z.O.A. Convention Opens in Jerusalem; Sharett Lauds American Zionists

The 66th annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America, the first in Israel, opened here tonight with a tribute by Moshe Charett, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, to “the magnificent record” of American Zionism.

Greeting the 1,000 delegates and guests on behalf of the World Zionist movement, Mr. Sharett said that the American Zionist movement had at several critical Junctures in the history of Zionism proved “a tower of strength” and helped to achieve decisive victories. He lauded the contributions of Dr. Abba Hillel Silver “whose dynamic drive and determination played such a signal part in the epoch-making breakthrough of the movement in 1947.”

Dr. Max Nussbaum, ZOA president, said that with the exception of “an infinitesimal group,” the entire American Jewish community was friendly toward Israel, but that the Zionist Organization was the only entity whose support for Israel was one of commitment. He said the partnership between the Zionist movement and Israel placed the obligation for the future of Jewish life on the State of Israel, adding that the welfare of Israel was interwoven with a creative Jewish community in countries outside of Israel.

U.S. ZIONISTS LED JEWRY IN IMPORTANT MOMENTS, SHAZAR SAYS

Israel President Zalman Shazar said that twice American Zionism led all Jewry in an effort that saved Zionism. The first time was when the political future of Palestine was decided at the Versailles Conference at the end of the first World War and the second was at the end of World War II when American Zionism had a fateful role in the fight to bring about the re-birth of Israel. He told the delegates that Israel was again in a crucial period of threatening dangers and gigantic problems and that “we dare hope that in this third time too you, together with all friends of Zionism will come through once again.”

Dr. Silver said that while the primary Zionist objective had been achieved and Israel was an accomplished fact, the need for defending Israel politically and militarily will never disappear, at least not in this generation. He warned that Israel would not be able to escape political tensions and pressures of the region and that danger lurks on its borders.

“Our work is not over by any means,” he added, “and those who would rely in all future emergencies on the instant response of the unorganized so-called friends of Israel — whose commitments are so vague and whose staying power so uncertain — are not wise guardians of the best interests of the State of Israel.”

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