REHOVOT (Feb. 25)
Four hundred cheering Soviet immigrants and native Israelis joined U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Kenneth B. Keating, at the dedication ceremony of the Rehovot absorption center. The four-building complex, to be used for housing new immigrants from Russia, was built with funds provided by the American people. These funds were part of a $75 million grant given to the United Israel Appeal. Inc. of New York to assist and absorb Soviet immigrants.
Keating, obviously moved by the warm reception of the audience, declared: “There is something extraordinary about this day. We meet here for a remarkable event…we are dedicating a structure that reflects simple human decency. This center is a link in a chain that brings a people whose sufferings are among mankind’s shame to a nation that is very special and precious to them… There is also the encouraging aspect of my own country helping another nation to settle people from a third nation…it is the right thing to do. It reflects the will of the American people, as expressed by our legislators, and I am proud of the decision and proud to join in representing my country here today.”
Ambassador Frank Kellogg, special assistant to the Secretary of State for Migration and Refugee Affairs, spoke for the U.S. Department of State. He had recently completed an extensive tour of absorption centers, educational facilities and hospitals in areas populated by recent arrivals from the Soviet Union to Israel. Speaking on behalf of the United Israel Appeal of New York was chairman Melvin Dubinsky, who expressed his appreciation to the people of America for their share in, this dynamic partnership.
Leon Dulzin, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, emphasized the great heritage shared by the people of Israel and the people of America. “Both nations,” he declared, “were built by waves of immigrants.” Included among the guests were Zeev Sharef, Israeli Minister of Housing; Gottlieb Hammer, executive vice-chairman, United Israel Appeal, N.Y.; Gen. Uzi Narkiss, director general of the Department for Immigration and Absorption, Jewish Agency; and Shmuel Rechtman, Mayor of Rehovot.