JERUSALEM (Sep. 10)
President Ephraim Katzir linked the fate of Israel with that of world Jewry in a Rosh Hashana message released here today to Jewish communities abroad. “We face the new year with new knowledge of how closely we are bound together, and how indeed we both in Israel and abroad are exposed with particular vulnerability to the attack of those economic and strategic forces which are attempting to undermine the structure of the free world,” the President’s message said.
He declared, however, “Our inherited response to danger, our will to survive, the new wind of vitality and change sweeping through Israel itself–all of these, we have no doubt, will come into play in this year before us. They should enable use to nurture our tradition, continue to build and read and learn, strive for decent, peaceful relationship between Israel and its neighbors.”
Katzir recalled with deep sadness the events that less than one year ago plunged Israel into its most costly war. “As we approach Rosh Hashana,” he said, “we look back upon the year that has been and forward towards the year that is taking shape. There is no cause for easy optimism in either case. There must be very few Jews in the world who do not at this point in time recall the tragic, staggering shock of last Yom Kippur when massive Arab armies launched their attack on Israel. We in Israel and you abroad felt instinctively and with terrible force that we were fighting for the continuity of Jewish history.”
COURAGE OF ISRAELI SOLDIERS
Katzir’s message continued: “That the unthinkable did not happen was due, in the first place, to the courage of Israel’s soldiers who overwhelmingly reversed the course of battle and so broke open the way to disengagement of forces and the possibility–however complicated and remote–of a peaceful political settlement in the Middle East.”
Noting that “for the many hundreds who died and for their families, no words of gratitude and consolation are adequate,” Katzir observed that no analysis or recollection of the past year’s events would be correct “without very great emphasis on the major role played by Jews throughout the world in strengthening and aiding Israel during the attack and the counter-attack and the binding up of wounds that followed upon the open hostilities. We in Israel have developed new appreciation of the family links binding us all and of the efforts made abroad for Israel, with such extraordinary dedication.”
He concluded with an appeal to world Jewry to “work together to deepen the Jewish education of all our children and to bring more and more of the younger generation from abroad to Israel for shorter or longer periods of time and eventually even for the complete identification that is aliya. Jointly let us concern ourselves with the well-being and satisfactory absorption in Israel of the tens of thousands of immigrants from Soviet Russia and elsewhere for whose coming we hope.”