NEW YORK (Oct. 27)
Israel’s Premier Golda Meir told more than 300 Jewish student activists that Israel is opposed to the creation of a separate Arab state consisting of the West Bank and Gaza Strip because it would not be viable. She also told the students that without U.S. aid, Israel’s security would be in great danger. Mrs. Meir spoke at length about Israeli problems and policies to the students who gathered from 90 campuses in the United States and Canada, at a marathon 3 1/2 hour meeting here Sunday evening. Details of the meeting were released today. The meeting, the first of its kind with a visiting Prime Minister of Israel, was sponsored by the American Zionist Youth Foundation. The purpose of the meeting was to acquaint and inform the students first-hand about Israeli policies and to erase any fears or doubts students might have about Israeli strategy and tactics. Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Leftist and Rightist groups were represented at the meeting which included leaders of the Jewish Radical Union at McGill University in Montreal, the Jewish Cultural Institute and Minyan Club at Brooklyn College, the Hillel Foundation at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and the Jewish Student Union of City College.
A student panel consisting of six persons posed questions on Israeli policy to Mrs. Meir and a lively discussion ensued. In response to a question on Russian involvement in the Middle East, Mrs. Meir disclosed to the students that the Israelis had definite proof of this involvement because Israel had shot down four Soviet planes piloted by Russians shortly before the current 90-day cease-fire went into effect. She declared that Israel had not announced this incident at the time because “we do not want to appear victorious over Russia and thus risk a confrontation.” She decided to disclose this information during the course of the meeting one student participant told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, because several leftist students had questioned the need for U.S. military aid to Israel. One of the Orthodox students in the audience raised the question of “who is a Jew.” stating that although the group he represented was pro-Israel, they were uneasy at one of the basic religious tenets being denied by the State. Mrs. Meir replied that although she deeply respected the religious groups living in Israel and their principles, she found it impractical not to follow the will of the majority.
She stated that if large groups of Orthodox persons would immigrate to Israel and become the country’s majority group, she would then bow to their wishes on this issue. Mrs. Meir, referring to the vital links between Israel and American Jewry, called for more aliyah and for continued political support. She agreed that the Zionist Ideology is still necessary to provide Israel with a socially conscious aliyah of young Americans. “New ideas are acceptable to us on the basis of your coming here and living together with us and building the Israel society.” Mrs. Meir stated. Many questions related to the present and future state of Soviet Jewry were discussed, and Mrs. Meir emphasized that the revival of Jewish Identity among Jewish youth in Soviet Russia was one of the great events of the last years. Throughout the entire meeting, Mrs. Meir maintained an excellent rapport with the students who described the exchange as “relaxed, informal and very heimish.” Often, loud bursts of appreciative laughter would greet Mrs. Meir’s witty and caustic remarks and several of them drew prolonged response. At the conclusion of the spirited talk, Mrs. Meir thanked the students for their remarks and suggestions and promised a continued dialogue in Israel. The students accorded the Prime Minister a standing ovation.