TEL AVIV (Jul. 31)
Premier Golda Meir appealed today to recent Jewish Immigrants from the Soviet Georgian Republic, who have been the most vociferous critics of conditions In Israel among immigrant groups, to Join in action “for the unification of the nation. For your name and honor,” the Premier said In an address to 400 delegates attending the Second National Conference of Russian Jews In Beersheba; “do not follow the easy road, It is your Israel your Ashdod, your Jerusalem. There is no we and ‘you’ We are all one nation.”
Referring to demands of Georgian Jews for more rights and more preferences in various fields, she said there were problems as well as rights, and that Israel “will be less good without you. Give your hand to the development of one state.” She said it was not criticism that worried her, “but the enthusiasm with which this criticism is brought up.”
Mrs. Meir also reminded such Soviet Jewish critics that they were free to raise their voices in Israel as they could not in Russia, and that while shouting may not be needed in Israel, “it Is permitted.” She also contrasted the attitudes of early settlers in Israel from Russia. those coming in 1948 who fought side by side” with the veterans, with those of the recent settlers from Russia. She said there was no “we” and “they” in that struggle or at the military cemeteries.
STORMY OPENING SESSION
President Ephraim Katzic welcoming the delegates assembled at the “Keren” hall, told them that “it is only here that we shall build our life and culture. Whoever thinks he will find the golden calf elsewhere is mistaken. Only in Israel shall we be able to survive. We need aliya. But everyone knows that absorption is sometimes difficult, aid sometimes late and the machinery not always as efficient as it should be. However, we are all with them.”
Absorption Minister Natan Peled urged immigrants to exercise “less criticism and more cooperation.” He reminded the olim that while they benefitted by coming to Israel they also assumed responsibilities. Peled said he was not discouraged by the decline in the number of immigrants from the Soviet Union and expressed hope that more will come. He noted that Absorption Ministry officials may not be all “saints.” but neither are all immigrants.
The opening of the convention was marred by a stormy outburst from new immigrants from the Soviet Union who criticized the composition of the steering committee and other convention bodies. They demanded greater representation on the committee, claiming that immigrants who came to Israel before statehood flooded the various committees. But the convention finally settled down after some minutes of general disorder.