Mrs. Meir, Shazar: Truman Great Friend of Israel, Jewish People

Flags flew at half mast in Israel yesterday in mourning for former President Harry S. Truman who died Tuesday at the age of 88. President Zalman Shazar of Israel described President Truman as “a rare friend” and a “far-sighted man.” President Shazar said, “The late President’s sincere friendship and his understanding and sympathy for Israel were of central importance in some of the most critical moments of Israel’s struggle for nationhood and thereafter. We share in the grief felt by the American people on the passing of one of its greatest servants and leaders.”

Premier Golda Meir sent a personal message of condolence yesterday to Mrs. Harry S. Truman in which she asserted that the name of President Truman “will forever be linked with the restored sovereignty of our people.” Mrs. Meir’s message said: “Allow me to express my personal sorrow as well as that of the people of Israel on the passing of one of the greatest humanitarians of our time. He was all that a leader of a people should be. He will be remembered not only by the American people but by all mankind as one of the great men of this century… His blessed memory shall be cherished not only by Israel of today but by all generations to come….”

The Chief Rabbinate Council also sent a message of sympathy to the Truman family. The Council co-chairman, Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef eulogized the late President as “a righteous gentile” who helped strengthen Israel in its formative years.

Eliahu Eilat, who was Israel’s Ambassador to the United States during the Truman administration told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that President Truman had a “far-reaching effect” on the development of the State of Israel. The 70-year-old diplomat cited four decisions by Truman which aided Israel’s development: His pledge to include the town of Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba within Israel’s borders; his support for the United Nations partition plan; his swift recognition of Israel; and his grants of large sums in economic aid to the Jewish State soon after its establishment.

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