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Allon in ‘operation Israel’ to Jewish Communities in the U.S.

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Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon told a standing-room-only audience of more than 325 regional Jewish community leaders at a dinner meeting here last night that “the main purpose of our foreign police is to achieve a just and durable peace with the Arab countries….If we cannot do this, let us at least avert a war for as long as possible. To do this we have to be strong…and if we cannot avoid or postpone war, let us not be forced to fight on all fronts simultaneously.”

Community leaders assembled on short notice from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico to hear Allon, Moshe Rivlin, Director-General of the Jewish Agency, and Frank R. Lautenberg, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal. It was the second leg of a chartered flight “Operation Israel” which began in Miami earlier in the day and included top UJA officials, as well as UJA executive vice-chairman Irving Bernstein.

Rivlin, comparing the dark days of 1948 following Israel’s Declaration of Independence with today, Israel’s 27th anniversary of statehood, said: “In 1948, Jerusalem was besieged, today we see a reunited Jerusalem,.. and we had to fight five wars (including the war of attrition) to do it…. We were only 600,000 in 1948, today we are over 3,000,000. I don’t know if you can understand the full meaning of gathering in 1,500,000 people from 54 different countries and building one language …when you go today from Kiryat Shemona to Eilat, you will see what the Jewish people have done in 27 years.”

Lautenberg said that, in speaking to Gold Meir a few days ago, she told him that in the face of crisis, “the only asset we have is the spirit of our people.” The UJA general chairman added that “once apprised, the American Jewish community will react. Now is that time.. we are faced with danger and mounting apprehension.”

Following the formal meeting, Allon met with campaign chairmen of the more than 26 communities represented. Mrs. Sylvia Hassenfeld, national UJA Women’s Division chairman, and Mrs. Bernard Schaenen of Dallas, former Women’s Division chairman, met with women’s leadership to discuss ways of implementing UJA’s goal of $100 million in cash by the end of May. Young leaders met separately to discuss each city’s current problems and ways to inspire and initiate new responses to meet the ever growing needs of Jews in distress. Close to midnight, “Opposition Israel” headed for Los Angeles, third city in its mission.

AMERICAN JEWISH LEADERSHIP PRAISED

Earlier in the day, Allon met with more than 200 Jewish leaders from southeast Jewish communities in Miami at the opening meeting of “Operation Israel,” Allon told the Jewish leaders that “on behalf of the people of Israel, I would like to thank American Jewish leadership for responding so quickly to the major goals of the UJA campaign by accelerating your efforts for human needs in Israel.” He called the UJA “an organization which embraces the entire American Jewish community–it represents the will and determination of a united people.”

Declaring that the people of Israel “have no greater ally than the Jewish people itself,” Alton said: “What we are asking is that you help us to help ourselves and I am sure that by helping us, you are helping yourselves also, We must devote our ingathering to build a society that will benefit the entire world.”

Lautenberg told the Jewish leaders that “at this hour in Jewish history it has become imperative that I call you together from throughout Florida and the Southeast to enlist your support for the launching of a total mobilization for the human needs of the people of Israel… amidst signs of danger, uncertainty and mounting apprehension.”

He noted that “if our communities are to sense the new emergency, leadership has responsibility to convey the intensity of the crisis.” He added that the American Jewish community would respond again, “if called upon and now is that time.” L. Jules Arkin, 1976 campaign chairman in Miami, presented a $1 million check to the UJA, an amount above and separate from the current campaign goals of the Jewish communities.

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