LOS ANGELES (Mar. 9)
David Ben-Gurion, former Prime Minister, told 1, 000 volunteer workers at the inaugural dinner of the Jewish Federation-Council’s 1967 United Jewish Welfare Fund campaign last night that no one man was the architect of present-day Israel.
Lauded by chairman Albert Spiegel, campaign and dinner chairman, as the “architect of present-day Israel,” Mr. Ben-Gurion said that at least six outstanding men had contributed to the modern state. He listed these as including Chaim Weizmann, Theodor Herzl, and such unknowns as Charles Netter, who established the first agricultural training school in Palestine in 1870, as well as Baron Edmund de Rothschild, who established the first colonies.
At the dinner the volunteers were told that a record $2, 685, 000 in advanced gifts had been pledged to the welfare fund drive. Earlier in the day, at the University of California at Los Angeles, Mr. Ben-Gurion found himself in the midst of a spirited exchange with Arab students when addressing an audience of some 500 at the college. Asked by one Arab “if God asks you a long time from now why you took the land of the Arabs in Palestine — and kicked them out against their will, what will you reply?” Ben-Gurion said: “Well, if God asks me this question, I will answer him, you promised this land 4, 000 years ago to Abraham and his children.” The audience broke out in cheers at Ben-Gurion’s response. He added to the Arab student “we were there, I think you will agree, long before you came there.”
Mr. Ben-Gurion held a number of private interviews today with outstanding figures in the Los Angeles Jewish community. At lunch in the grand ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, he met with 150 members of the UJA Young Leaders Cabinet and Community Service Committee and other Jewish youth groups in the Greater Los Angeles area. Irwin Field, vice-president of the UJA Young Leadership Cabinet, chaired the meeting.
Later in the afternoon today, the former Premier delivered an address in Hebrew to some 400 students, faculty members of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, University of Judaism, the Hebrew department of UCLA and other Hebrew-speaking organizations in the Los Angeles area. In the evening, he spoke to 3, 000 persons gathered inside the Los Angeles Palladium at a community-wide tribute to him. He was introduced by Victor M. Carter, president of the Federation-Council.