NEW YORK (Apr. 24)
American Zionism marked Israel’s 26th anniversary at a festive Independence Day celebration at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher (Philharmonic) Hall tonight. The event was sponsored and organized by the American Zionist Federation. Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, told the 3000 people assembled that in each anniversary of Israel’s independence there is more meaning, more profundity more maturity. “Each anniversary brings more Joy of freedom, more pride in sovereignty, more elation with national achievement. Yet there is also a sadness that the struggle is not over and with it comes pain and grief. This is the way it has been through the years. This is the way it is now,” he said.
“It is not only Israel’s rebirth that we celebrate today,” Tekoah observed, “but its physical and spiritual vigor and above all the inherent prowess and dedication of its people. These have reached new heights in the Yom Kippur War. Even now, at a time of Introspection and stock-taking, there is strength and steadfastness and resolve within the people of Israel, in the man on the street and in the field. in the soldier at the front.”
Tekoah noted that “The vitality, the spirit, the greatness which have led us to national rebirth and Inspired us in the continuing struggle are there to be drawn upon as in the past. It is a people capable of bringing forth from within itself the best in thought and action and leadership. It is a nation only at the beginning of its road of creativity and accomplishment. This is, therefore, the hour to look ahead, to outline the objectives, to chart the paths, to gird ourselves for renewed endeavors.” Israel’s principal goals in the forthcoming years are: “Peace with our neighbors, peace with ourselves and unity with world Jewry,” Tekoah declared.
NO RELAXATION IN SEARCH FOR PEACE
Touching on Israeli-Arab relations, Tekoah said that there is still no sign that Arab governments have reached the conclusion that war, violence and coercion must be irrevocably abandoned in their relations with Israel; that hostility must be replaced by understanding, belligerency by mutual confidence, “Despite these discouraging circumstances we will not relax our search for agreement and peace” the Ambassador stated, and added: “On this anniversary of Israel’s independence we, therefore, call again on the Arab states to join with us in the labor of peace. We are ready for it. All the peoples of the Middle East aspire to it. It is up to the Arab governments to respond to the hopes and needs of all, Jews and Arabs alike for peace in this region.”
Replying to those who speak about Israel’s Isolation, Tekoah said that Israel will never compromise its ideals and beliefs for the sake of being accepted by the majority. “The Jewish people has never betrayed itself and never will; small as it is, surrounded by those who are more numerous as it has always been. This has been our strength in all ages.”
He concluded by saying ” We know how much our future depends on the brotherhood which binds us, in Israel, to the entire Jewish people. We know how much the fate of the Jewish people depends on our convenient with you, on the redemption of Soviet Jewry, on the liberation of our brothers still lingering under Arab yoke. On this festive day in the life of the Jewish State we pledge to strengthen our unity with you, with all our heart and all our soul-and all our might. Together we shall fulfill the historic destiny of the Jewish people.”
WILL REMAIN ONE AND UNITED WITH ISRAEL
Rabbi Israel Miller, AZF president, stated that the Zionists of the U.S. affirm for all to hear that “we are united with our brothers and sisters in Israel, that we will remain one and united and will behold Israel living in peace and prosperity and security. We meet also on this day to remember the people of Israel memorialized, the brave and selfless soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces who have given their lives so that Israel would live.”
Rabbi Miller added that “the issues which we confront are staggering in their enormity, but we will face them together with the people of Israel and we shall emerge triumphant. Our responsibility does not end with words of encouragement. with telling the true story of Israel, with material support, or with personal identification through visits and aliya. We must make certain that our country–the United States–remains steadfast in its diplomatic, military and economic support of Israel, especially at a time when the Soviet Union is encouraging Arab intransigence at the bargaining table and continues to supply huge amounts of sophisticated weaponry to the Arab armies.”
The artistic program included stage and screen actor Melvyn Douglas; the Israeli concert pianist David Bar-Illan; Basso Michael Li-Paz, also from Israel; Cantor Mikhail Alexandrovich, who has recently emigrated from Russia to Israel and is at present on a tour in the U.S.; and the Zamir Chorale, under the direction of Matti Lazar. Mrs. Faye Schenk, chairman of the AZF Executive, chaired the event.
MORE EVENTS SCHEDULED FOR ANNIVERSARY
Earlier in the day a memorial service was conducted for Israel’s war heroes at the Israeli Consulate. Participants included Israeli Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Tekoah, Consul General David Rivlin, and members of the official Israeli delegation in the city. A day of entertainment and dances will be held tomorrow on the campus of Yeshiva University. Later in the day Rabbi Yosef will participate in a celebration at the Esplanade Hotel.
A luncheon and fashion show by Israeli designers to celebrate the Jewish State’s 26th anniversary will be held tomorrow at the New York Hilton Hotel sponsored by the Greater New York Women’s Division of the State of Israel Bonds. Forty-three guest models from the world of fashion, stage and screen will participate. Mrs. Nathaniel L. Goldstein is chairman.
Other events are scheduled in New York and other cities across the nation this weekend. One of the largest is scheduled in Los Angeles where an estimated 10,000 marchers will participate in a 15-mile community-wide Am Yisrael Chat-Walk for Life to dramatize humanitarian needs in Israel and in the local community and to enrich the bonds of Jewish kinship. The march, according to Edward Sanders, president of the Jewish Federation- Council of Greater Los Angeles, will be coordinated by the youth department of the JF-C and Jewish Centers Association.