NEW YORK (Jun. 16)
A four-point program for cementing the relations between Israel and American Jewry was outlined here today by Shimon Peres, former Deputy Minister of Defense in Israel, who is now on a visit to the United States. Mr. Peres, who is now secretary-general of Rafi, Israel’s new political party formed by ex-Premier David Ben-Gurion, said in a press interview.
“The efforts to cement stronger understanding between the Jews in Israel and the Jews in the United States should be based on the following principles: 1. Israeli and American Jews must assume joint responsibility for the fate of Russian Jewry; 2. They must make a joint effort to meet some of the problems that may face Israel in the future in the field of security; 3. They must organize a dialogue about the future of Judaism as a faith and as a concept; 4. Hebrew and Jewish education must be expanded for the younger generation in the countries outside Israel.”
“These steps,” Mr. Peres continued, “must be taken not only through the existing organizations, but by nonpartisan conferences and by establishing institutes and communications devoted to these problems. In that way, American Jews will know more about Israel, while the Israeli people will know more about American Jewish life.”
Asked about current United States relations with Israel, and the recent agreement by the United States to permit the sale of jet bombers to Israel, he said: “I feel that President Johnson demonstrated a deep understanding of Israel’s problems, and has responded to some of Israel’s demands in a satisfying manner. As a member of the opposition in Israel, I can voice such a judgment freely and plainly.”
Commenting on the United States involvement in Viet Nam, Mr. Peres said: “Viet Nam is mainly an American problem and nobody, as far as I know, doubts the American motives in South Viet Nam. From the Israeli point of view, one can say that the effort by the American Administration to be true to a commitment undertaken by the American people toward a foreign land is meaningful to all other countries that have a relationship with America, Including Israel.”
The former Israeli official, who had studied at Harvard University, said he had refreshed his understanding of Jewry in this country through conferences he has held here in the last week with leaders of Jewish organizations and leading American Jewish intellectuals. “I find the younger generation here highly intelligent and very alert, in regard both to Jewish problems and to problems in general, hoping that new meaning might be added to Judaism in the modern world,” he stated.