Ambassador Harman Emphasizes Israel’s Achievements in Integration

Israel Ambassador Avraham Harman emphasized Israel’s achievements in integrating immigrants of diverse backgrounds in an anniversary interview on the NBC-TV “Today” program this morning, and revealed that an estimated 20 percent of Israeli marriages now link Ashkenazim with Sephardim.

Mr. Harman said that diversity of citizens represented a major social problem but that efforts to effectuate fusion of peoples has brought results. He said that 10 percent of university graduates today are Sephardim, and 26 percent of secondary school students are from that segment of Israel’s population which is generally regarded as being culturally and economically on a lower level. He referred to students whose parents came from such countries as Morocco. He voiced hope for a “cross-fertilization of culture,” an amalgamation of peoples originating in Europe with Middle East-influenced peoples.

In an address at an Israel Independence Day celebration here sponsored by the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Mr. Harman pledged that Israel would never be the first country in its area to introduce any new type of weapon.

He said that, while peace has not been achieved in the Middle East, “one important development has occurred.” He pointed out that “the extremist Arab viewpoint, which has been articulated consistently and with particular intensity in recent years, is that the State of Israel must be destroyed. “It is clear today that this is an unrealistic goal,” he said, “and that increasing numbers of Arabs are realizing that it cannot be attained and that the future of the Middle East lies in the direction of Arab-Israel co-existence and accommodation.”

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