Allon Says Jewish Education Major Instrument to Preserve Jewish People

Calling Jewish education “the major instrument which can help us to preserve the Jewish people,” Yigal Allon, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Culture, told 100 American Jewish educational leaders last evening that “we must teach the young Israelis not only to be loyal citizens of the State of Israel, but also loyal to the Jewish people as a whole.”

Speaking to a reception of the Board of Jewish Education of New York, and the American Association for Jewish Education, Allon declared: “I truly believe that education in general–and Jewish education in particular–is perhaps the only instrument of advancing humanity and preserving Jewishness. We are a country of aliya, and education contributes a great share to both children in schools and adults in ulpanim. We need more Jews to build Israel. I think that education can help in this direction.”

EACH JEW RESPONSIBLE FOR ENTIRE PEOPLE

Among those welcoming Allon was Robert H. Arnow, president of AAJE, representing 43 central agencies and 17 national organizations, Arnow, who is also president of the JTA, called for more regularized American-Israeli educational exchanges. Ambassador David Rivlin, Consul General, also welcomed Allon.

Noting that “each single Jew is responsible for the entire people, and the entire people is responsible for each Jew wherever he may be,” Allon declared: “I believe that ways and means must be found in the diaspora to educate the young people to take pride in being Jews.” Expanding his comments to the political sphere, Allon remarked: “It is not only a human task but a very Jewish one to see to it that our young generation will be educated in such a way that they will be good soldiers,” but not to be filled with hatred for the Arabs. An Arab minority will always live in our midst, he noted, “and we will always be surrounded by Arab nations. I don’t think that hatred is necessary in order to develop daring, courageous soldiers. I believe in love.”

Allon praised US educational institutions for recognizing credits earned at some Israeli institutions, and called for an expansion of this arrangement. He said he hoped that Israel can “send more teachers to the diaspora,” observing: “I know no other profession that should be evaluated higher than teaching.” The efforts by young Soviet Jews to obtain visas is “a most courageous action” that “gives us hope that the second largest Jewish community in the world is not lost,” Allon also noted.

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