NEW YORK (Feb. 13)
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Dayan said Thursday night he welcomed the student unrest in Egypt because it was not really directed against Israel, but against their leaders who they felt had misled them. In an informal 35 minute question and answer period at a “Pace Setters Dinner” at the Pierre Hotel which launched the 1972 campaign of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York and raised same $21 million in pledges and donations, Dayan said “the students don’t love us. But Egyptian President Anwar Sadat promised them that 1971 was a ‘year of decision’ and then gave them excuses for not making a decision.”
Continuing, he added, “Egypt exists for us whether led by Nasser, Sadat or someone else. Egypt needs peace as much as we do. They cannot offer us peace as a gift. Mrs. Meir (Premier Golda Meir) can go on because she enjoys the confidence of the people. This is not the situation in Egypt.” Today, he said, the Egyptian soldiers and students know they have the alternative of “opening fire or negotiating” and if they open fire they know their chances of winning are “not good.” In answer to other questions Dayan on several occasions reiterated his belief that Israeli troops must remain on the Jordan River to protect Israel “now and in the future.”
“I do not believe King Hussein is ready to negotiate a peace treaty unless we return to Jordan all the territory they controlled before the Six-Day War–Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the West Bank. I do not believe it should be done. We should keep troops on the Jordan River now and in the future to secure the future and safety of our country.” Dayan also expressed the belief that Arabs and Jews can live together. “We do it every day in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, in the Gaza Strip,” he noted.
IMMIGRATION IS TOP PRIORITY
Continuing, he noted that Israel’s problem was how, from a population of three million, to raise an army both powerful and respected that could protect Israel’s borders and at the same time permit that small population to develop the country normally–“to build schools and plant trees.” Dayan added, “immigration is our top priority. In the future we want Israel to be not only a Jewish State, but a significant Jewish State. I hope to live to see a Jewish State of 5-6 million.” He concluded. “Israel faces two major problems–building a country and protecting it. It is not enough to say we live in historic times. Working together we can make history.”
New York’s Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, surprise visitor to the dinner meeting, said he came to welcome Dayan (who had not yet arrived) and to pay tribute to his “old friend” Samuel Hausman. Hausman, who Thursday celebrated his 75th birthday, for a number of years had served as general chairman of the New York UJA campaign, had been chairman of the organization’s board of directors and is currently an honorary chairman of the board. He was presented with a glass vase made in Israel by Ariel Bar-Tal, a concentration camp survivor who had introduced the art of glass blowing to that country. Also honored was Sir Isaac Wolfson, British philanthropist and Jewish communal leader. He was presented with a series of Czechoslovakian stamps that were to have been issued to commemorate 1,000 years of Jewish settlement in Bohemia. The stamps were withdrawn after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.