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Hadassah Told Israel Not Stalling on Peace Talks but Concerned Cease-fire May Backfire

Israel is not stalling Middle East peace negotiations “but is worried about its defenses along the Suez Canal and must be assured that the cease-fire will not be misused against her,” Gershon Avner, deputy director of the Israel Foreign Ministry said here today. According to Mr. Avner, Arab strategy is to gain a position during the cease-fire “from which Israel can be defeated just once because one victory is all the Arabs need to destroy our existence.” Mr. Avner’s remarks were contained in a speech prepared for delivery tonight at the 56th annual convention of Hadassah. Mr. Avner said “Israel needs both peace and secure borders. For Israel to return to the borders of June 4, 1967 is to return to indefensible borders.” He said that “Israel’s fears that the cease-fire would be used against her appear to have been realized even sooner than we expected.” According to Mr. Avner, Israel can’t enter into negotiations “if our security is jeopardized in advance and if our friends display indifference to a breach of undertaking made to the U.S.” The speaker referred to Soviet-Egyptian commitments to Washington to abide by the terms of the standstill cease-fire in the Suez Canal zone which Israel claims they have violated.

At an earlier session today the noted author and columnist, Cleveland Amory, told the more than 2500 delegates at the Hadassah convention that while the United States is apparently willing to pay with the lives and blood of thousands of Americans for a “doubtful democracy and at worst a bloody dictatorship,” it has just the opposite approach regarding Israel. “In the sands of the Middle East, where there is, for the first time in recorded history, not just a real political democracy but a true democracy of the human spirit–for this American cannot even spare planes we had promised,” Mr. Amory said. “Not give them, mind you, nor lend them,–not even, for God’s sake, sell them.” Asking whether it is so hard to have a lasting policy in the Middle East, Mr. Amory answered his own question by asserting, “It is not. It demands, however, certain qualities–among them courage and decency and the ability not just to tell right from wrong now, but to tell right from two thousand years of wrongs. Indeed I even think it is a simple thing–to say to the Russians very clearly that for every plane, for every tank, for every missile they give to the Arabs, we will give not one but two to the Israelis. I do not think Russia will find it a very profitable game.” Continuing, he declared: “In a world where there is no Israel I do not wish to live, you do not wish to live, and the United States of America does not deserve to live.”

Mrs. D. Leonard Cohen, national chairman of the American Affairs Department of Hadassah, declared that Hadassah women are not only liberated but judging from the group’s action program “our women are enthusiastic and important contributors to the community affairs.” Noting that they were innovators. Mrs. Cohen outlined the various numerous community actions in which Hadassah women are involved throughout the country. “Our women have a commitment to life, to their families, community, country and the world they live in. Some are blessed with wealth, some are young mothers getting by on limited resources, all are dedicated to an existence and a purpose beyond their own self-interest. This is the liberating factor,” Mrs. Cohen said. She added that “Hundreds of our 1,350 chapters are involved, alone and in cooperation with government and voluntary agencies, in providing much needed service to people.” Chapters have not been content merely with working through the regular school system as volunteer aides. Mrs. Cohen noted, “but have gone out into the community and worked with other voluntary agencies, with elderly people in connection with the hot meal programs. Our women obtain clothing, household items and staff a store to distribute clothing for migrant workers. They work with patients in hospitals, in food stamp programs. They chauffeur, teach nutrition, transport children to dentists and doctors, and are speech therapy, playground and library assistants.” Is the Hadassah woman alienated, powerless, in need of liberation? Not so! concluded Mrs. Cohen.

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