Menu JTA Search

Ben-gurion Predicts Half of Soviet Jews Would Move to Israel if Allowed to Emigrate

Former Premier David Ben-Gurion predicts that half of Russia’s Jews would move to Israel if they were permitted to emigrate. Speaking at 85th birthday celebrations at his Sde Boker desert home, Ben-Gurion noted that “Israel must make preparations for such an eventuality.” He repeated his vision of Israel becoming not a Sparta-like military nation but a center of learning and science radiating its knowhow to the whole world. Israel’s security, he stressed, lies not in a modern army, although it is necessary, but in largescale immigration.

Concurrently, he said, Israel must be exemplary in the areas of equality, freedom, tolerance, mutual aid, love of fellow men, and development of knowledge. In remarks at another celebration, Ben-Gurion reiterated to a gathering of new immigrants his view that one of Israel’s chief tasks was to increase her three-million population to six million. Congratulatory messages were received by Ben-Gurion from President Nixon and former President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Nixon said: “Your 85th birthday is indeed a special occasion for your friends all over the world. You have won an important place in history as a founding father of a pioneering nation. And you have also won a place in the hearts of all who admire your courage, resolution and devotion to man’s highest ideals. Mrs. Nixon joins me in extending warm congratulations to you along with our very best wishes for your health and happiness.” Johnson said: “I extend best wishes on your 85th birthday. You indeed were one of the great statesmen of our times in the leadership of your people during the events climaxing in Israel’s statehood and I pray you will live to see the lasting peace for which we all yearn established between Israel and her neighbors.”

NEXT STORY