Rivlin: Immigrants Will Get New Housing. Not Army Tents

David Rivlin, Israel’s Consul General in New York, took issue yesterday with Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Dayan on the means to be used to house new immigrants in Israel. Differing with Dayan, who in a recent speech offered to turn Israel’s army out under the stars and turn over their tents and barracks to new immigrants if adequate housing for immigrants was not available, Rivlin told the Greater New York Aliya Conference meeting at the Lincoln Square Synagogue:

“We have no intention of emptying our barracks and tents for new immigrants. We are going to build houses for them–however many they may be–and for the old immigrants who are living crowded in inadequate housing and for our young men and women who are leaving the army and getting married.”

In his talk to some 450 persons attending the Conference, Rivlin stated that for the first time “we are cautiously optimistic” that we will not see a renewal of war. There is at least “an equal chance for peace” because “war is almost impossible” for Egypt, he declared. Expanding on this theme, Rivlin said that the Egyptians know that in any new war they will suffer a defeat worse than that in 1967 and their army will be destroyed.

But peace today is also impossible, he added, because Egyptian President Anwar Sadat has made too many threats and belligerent statements. He also cannot maintain the status quo because of the student unrest, Rivlin stated. That leaves the Egyptians with only one option, “negotiations for a political settlement,” he concluded.

“We now feel,” Rivlin commented, “the Arabs need peace no less than Israel.” Commenting on Israel’s growth from “a nation of 650,000 Jews at our birth” to a “country of 2.7 million Jews as we stand on the eve of our 24th birthday,” Rivlin stated that shortly “we will number three million Jews and within a decade we will be 4.5 or 5 million.”

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