NEW YORK (Jul. 1)
American Zionists were called upon today to display “unremitting vigilance” in helping to safeguard the security of Israel. The call was issued at the opening session of the 68th annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America by Rabbi Max Nussbaum, ZOA president, who delivered the keynote address to the delegates assembled from all parts of the country.
The opening session highlighted addresses by Israel Ambassador Avraham Harman, who brought greetings on behalf of the Government and people of Israel; Senator Jacob K. Javits, and Paul Screvane, chairman of the New York City Council, who, in the absence of Mayor Wagner, welcomed the delegates on behalf of the City of New York, Rabbi Irving Miller, honorary chairman of the American Zionist Council, presided.
Reviewing the latest developments in the Middle East with special emphasis on Arab-Israel relations, Dr. Nussbaum asserted that “for the first time Israel’s arch enemy, President Nasser of Egypt, was confronted during recent months by events which led to a succession of defeats for him,” He added that “parallel with these, voices were heard throughout Moslem lands, from the innermost circles of the Arabs themselves which spoke of peace with Israel or, at least, of moderation and reasonableness.”
Dwelling on the tasks now facing the Zionist movement, Dr. Nussbaum stated that “for many decades the Jewish people throughout the world exerted all its efforts for the building of the Jewish State. Now Israel, as it is about to enter its 18th year, is ready to join with the Zionist movement in building the Jewish people.” He listed four steps that are essential to be taken towards the building of Jewish people hood:
1. The unification of the American Jewish community. He said that this year there have been significant trends in this direction as reflected in the unprecedented united voice of the American Jewish community relating to Soviet Jewry. He urged that the existing Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations be transformed into a Conference of Organizations leading to the emergence of an American Jewish Assembly.
2. Involvement by Zionists in the Jewish life of the community in which they reside. Zionists should find their way back to the mainstream of American Jewish life, “exercising our influence on the course of community affairs, fighting for Jewish values, participating in leadership.”
3. Involvement as Zionists in the educational system of the Jewish community by placing the subject of Israel on the curricula of Jewish religious schools, by fostering the study of Hebrew and by deepening the Jewish content of instruction in Jewish schools.
4. Stimulation of immigration to Israel within the meaning of its American terminology, ranging from “participation in summer projects in Israel by our teen-agers to permanent settlement of adults, but always relentlessly pressing for the exposure of our young generation to the exciting adventure and romance of the newly born Jewish State.”
The speaker emphasized that “in concentrating on these four points in close cooperation with all Zionist forces in America, we will at the same time contribute to the strengthening of a unified Zionist movement which will redound to the credit of our present and future generations.”
Dr. Nahum Goldmann, President of the World Zionist Organization, in a message from Geneva, Switzerland, declared that “the Zionist movement finds itself in a decisive stage of its development,” adding that: “It must try to reconquer its leading position in Jewish life everywhere and, above all, within the strongest Jewish community of the world, the U. S. A.”