NEW YORK (Dec. 15)
Former Israeli Premier Golda Meir declared here last night that Israel will fight for its existence “even if we are alone….We will fight with everything in our possession. Israel will not commit suicide like the heroes of Masada.”
Mrs. Meir spoke forcefully and with emotion to an audience of more than 3000 American Jewish leaders attending the closing dinner of the United Jewish Appeal National Conference given in her honor at the New York Hilton Hotel. The former Premier was greeted by a standing ovation that lasted several minutes and was repeatedly interrupted by applause. The Conference, which began Friday, ushered in the 1975 UJA campaign.
She scornfully rejected Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy’s demand that Israel close its doors to immigration for the next 50 years and return to the 1947 partition boundaries “I ask you, can’t we be forthcoming for a change and accept that for the sake of peace?” she said. “In what a peaceful atmosphere we will live in (Yasir) Arafat’s ‘secular state,’ the ‘democratic secular state’ with 50 years of no immigration, with no new child born. I leave it to your imagination.”
Mrs. Meir also denounced the United Nations and UNESCO for attempting to isolate Israel and deprive it of its rights of membership. It is not Israel that has been isolated, she said. “The UN is isolated from everything that is decent and moral in human life.”
ISRAEL HAS NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO WIN
Mrs. Meir stressed that she no longer spoke in the name of the government but as a private citizen of Israel. She said she could not promise that the Yom Kippur War was Israel’s last war. She said that Israel would never, under any circumstances negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization, even though UNESCO, which deals with education, prefers Arafat over Israel. “Who knows better about schools and children than Arafat?” she said, referring to the massacres at Maalot and Kiryat Shemona.
She stated that she believed the future “existence of the Jewish people depends upon an Israel safe, alive and developing. If you believe that, then everything is worth while.” she told her audience. She said that if the spirit of the Jewish people and the people of Israel remains intact, “even if we are alone, and God knows that is the last thing we want, even if left alone we can make it….We will win because we have no alternative.”
U.S. JEWS HEADY FOR HEAVIER BURDENS
The former Premier reaffirmed her view of Fahmy’s demand on CBS-TV “Face the Nation” today. “I hope that he hasn’t talked this nonsense just to give a sign to Americans that unless something drastic is done against Israel then there can be no peace, no negotiations,” she stated. Mrs. Meir recalled that three generations of Israelis have fought wars and spilled blood, “for what, not to let a Jew come in for 50 years, or for five years or for five months or for five days?” Israel cannot enter serious negotiations when such demands are made, she said.
Mrs. Meir noted that contributions by American Jews to Israel might be down because of economic conditions. But she said that American Jews she has met during her current visit to the U. S. on behalf of the UJA and the Israel Bond Organization indicated that they were prepared to make sacrifices so as not to reduce their contributions to Israel.
She refused to confirm or deny that she had met with King Hussein of Jordan while she was Israel’s Premier. “I’m not saying that I met with him, but assuming that I had, it would be a secret because he wants it” kept secret. She said that if Israel promised such a meeting would be kept secret it would not break its promise. She also stated that she could not imagine Israel launching a pre-emptive strike against its Arab neighbors.