Franco-israeli Amity Stressed at Inauguration of France House
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Franco-israeli Amity Stressed at Inauguration of France House

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Political differences between France and Israel were submerged here tonight and both nations’ dedication to the principles of “Liberty, equality and personal dignity” were stressed at ceremonies inaugurating France House on the Hebrew University campus. Addressing the gathering that included Cabinet Ministers and a delegation of the Friends of the Hebrew University in France, were Louis Joxe, representing the French government; Shlomo Hillel, Israel’s Minister of Police, representing the Israeli government and Mayor Teddy Kollek.

All but forgotten was the political storm that developed two weeks ago when French authorities objected to the official presence of Kollek at the opening of a Paris exhibit to take place here tomorrow night. The mayor referred to the episode in passing when he noted that the standing ovation he received tonight indicated that it was closed. The objections stemmed from French fears that Kollek’s appearance in his official capacity might be interpreted as recognition by France of Israel’s sovereignty over united Jerusalem. Kollek will speak at the opening.


Joxe, a former Deputy Premier of France, stressed the cultural significance of France House and praised the Hebrew University. His reference to politics was limited to the observation that after a history filled with suffering, the Jewish State deserved peace and cooperation with its neighbors.

Hillel referred directly to Franco-Israeli difficulties and expressed the hope that relations between the two countries would improve. He called on France to remember the words of Montesquieu that small countries must fight for their independence more frequently because they are exposed to destruction more often than large countries. He asked France not to demand from Israel what she does not demand from other countries.

An honorary doctorate was bestowed by the Hebrew University on Prof. Raymond Aron, a French Jewish philosopher and historian who was expelled by the Vichy regime during World War II. The degree was presented on behalf of the university’s Senate by Prof. Shmuel Aizenstadt.

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