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Jews, Non-jews in West Europe Salute Israel on Anniversary

Jews and non-Jewish friends of Israel here and on the continent saluted the Jewish State on its 25th anniversary today and participated in festive celebration over the weekend. Events linked to Israel’s Independence Day were reported from Brussels, Amsterdam. Paris, Bonn and other cities.

Officials of the Belgian government and former officials attended an Israel anniversary gala at the Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels last night, sponsored by the Belgian Committee for Israel’s 25th Anniversary. They were addressed by Israeli Ambassador Moshe Alon, In Anvers, the Jewish community held special religious services and a-party to mark the event and welcomed as guests two Israeli Knesset members. The tiny Jewish community in the Belgian town of Gand held a “falafel party,” and in Liege the local Jews gave an anniversary dance.

Some 3000 persons from all over Holland attended an Israel anniversary meeting in Amsterdam last night where the speakers included Israeli Ambassador Hanan Baron and Jewish Agency treasurer Leon Dultzin. Security precautions were strict. About 150 police guarded the meeting hall against possible counter-demonstrations by pro-Arab groups but none materialized.

In Bonn, Arab ambassadors called a press conference to criticize Israel’s Independence Day military parade in Jerusalem. They claimed that Israel spoke to the Arabs and the entire world in the “language of violence.”

ISRAEL’S ACHIEVEMENTS HAILED IN PRESS

Newspapers in most Western European capitals carried feature articles, editorials, and in many cases entire supplements devoted to Israel’s 25th anniversary. In spite of strained Franco-Israeli relations, the entire French press and the government-controlled radio and television stressed Israel’s military strength and economic progress achieved over the past 25 years. The right-wing newspaper L’Aurore praised “Israel’s inborn desire for peace and a settlement with its neighbors” and even the Gaullist daily La Nation wrote that “No one can doubt Israel’s good faith” in wanting peace. French government officials attended a reception given by the Israeli Embassy in Paris this evening.

West German newspapers expressed wonder and admiration for Israel’s dynamic development and reminded their readers of the “anguished memories of Nazi atrocities.”

The three branches of British religious Jewry the Orthodox United Synagogue, the New Synagogue which is comparable to Conservative Judaism in the U.S., and the Sephardic community–all held 25th anniversary celebrations over the weekend. Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jacobovits of the United Synagogue noted that while “Pesach celebrates the beginning of our exodus, not its conclusion, Yom Haatzmaut celebrates the conclusion of our exodus and the beginning of Statehood.”

In an Independence Day message to British Zionists, Louis Pincus. chairman of the World Zionist Organization Executive, said that on this day “We are filled with thanksgiving, but we are still in awe of the tasks that lie ahead. Jews face the danger of loss of Jewish identity. Only through identification with Israel can diaspora Jews withstand this danger.”

Michael Fidler, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews saluted Israel in an Independence Day statement. He said that British Jews “acknowledge the centrality of Israel in our hopes, aspirations and activities. Unbreakable ties bind us to our fellow Jews in Israel. New strength flows from them to us in the diaspora and from us to them.”

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