NEW YORK (Feb. 21)
Max M. Fisher received the 1972 Bnai Zion America-Israel Friendship Gold Medal Award here last night. The Detroit industrialist who is chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency and president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds was cited for his “outstanding contributions to the promotion of friendship and good will between the peoples of both countries” at the 64th annual award dinner of Bnai Zion, a national Zionist fraternal order.
The presentation to Fisher was made by the Hon. Herbert Tenzer, national vice president of Bnai Zion and president of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York.
Fisher arrived at the dinner only hours after he returned from Israel where he escorted Henry Ford, head of the Ford Motor Co., and Mrs. Ford on a week-long tour of Israel–their first visit there. In his acceptance remarks, Fisher stressed that both Israel and the United States owed the other “a great deal.” Since the emergence of the Jewish State in 1948, “The United States has granted Israel the greatest assistance and the most consistent help.” he said, adding that “the support that President Nixon and his administration have given Israel has been particularly outstanding.”
At the same time, Fisher maintained, Israel has also given something for which America is in her debt. Observing that Israel’s presence has been “a serious deterrent to the ambitions of the Soviets to control the Middle East and thereby to control Europe,” Fisher added, “I believe that the debt America and the American people owe Israel rests on something more basic and more significant than this. By her very existence–by her forward progress–Israel and her freedom-loving people demonstrate daily that democracy is still a working proposition–and that democratic principles are still vital principles on which to build nations.”
In his address, Fisher made a plea for increased support for Israel, particularly to finance the housing and absorption of the influx of Soviet Jews. Another speaker at the Bnai Zion dinner was George Romney, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.