NEW YORK (Apr. 16)
The oneness of the Jewish people was stressed last night as some 3000 persons participated in the American Zionist Federation’s celebration of the 27th anniversary of Israel’s independence. The audience, made up of people of all ages, expressed through their applause support for Israel and her position in the present Middle East situation.
David Rivlin, Israel’s Consul General in New York, stressed while there was no room for ” complacency” in the current situation there was also “no room for despair and low morale,” He said the State of Israel is the best guarantee of the survival of the entire Jewish people, Rivlin and other speakers noted that the celebration of Israel’s independence is tempered with sorrow over the 10,000 Israelis who lost their lives defending Israel since 1948. “We are a generation steeped with suffering and tears and blood,” Rivlin said.
Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and a former AZF president, led the audience in a Yizkor prayer for Israel’s war dead. He noted that “Our collective memory is one of the sources of our strength.” Mrs. Bernice Salpeter, an AZF vice-president and chairman of the anniversary celebration, also noted that “We Jews have been seasoned by the centuries; yet in adversity we have found strength.”
Rabbi Miller also stressed that only in a strong Israel can there be peace in the Middle East and said that the Ford Administration must take this “assessment” into account in its present “reassessment” of American Middle East policy.
RABIN SENDS MESSAGE
Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin sent a filmed message to the gathering noting that “your assembly is in itself a celebration of our Jewish unity.” Rabin said that “to be a Jew means to want peace, to work endlessly to achieve peace and to take risks, if necessary, to advance its coming, For these past 27 years this has been the aspiration and objective of Israel.”
Mayor Abraham Beam compared Israel to the United States: both countries took in immigrants who were oppressed in other countries, both believed in democracy, and both were built by their pioneer spirit, But Beame added, “The pioneer blood which brave Israelis shed in the defense of their new-found land must never have been shed in vain, and we must ensure the survival of the Israeli people.”
500 CELEBRATE IN SAN FRANCISCO
The celebration last night was one of a series being held in Jewish communities across the United States. In San Francisco, more than 600 persons took part Saturday evening in an Independence Day celebration at Congregation Ner Tamid honoring the American Veterans of Israel, The event was sponsored by the American Jewish Congress.
Arnold Sternberg, director of the California Office of Housing and Community Development, who fought in Israel’s War of Independence, noted that more than 5000 volunteers from the U.S., Canada, England and South Africa went to Israel to help her gain independence. He said hundreds of Americans, who survived battles during World War II, died in defense of the Jewish nation. Their sacrifices “form a bond of solidarity between our two nations,” he said.
Sternberg also revealed to the audience that Gov. Edmund G, Brown, Jr. told him shortly after his appointment that the newly-elected Governor had received more than 300 telegrams from Arab organizations in Los Angeles objecting to the naming of “a friend of Israel” to a state government post. Sternberg warned the Jewish community to be vigilant in view of the millions of dollars the Arab countries and their American friends will be spending on pro-Arab, anti-Israel propaganda.