PHILADELPHIA (May. 19)
President Ford paid warm tribute to the Lubavitch movement here last night in his first address to a national Jewish group since taking office. Sen. Hugh Scott (R.Pa.), the Senate Minority Leader, who also addressed more than 600 guests attending the first national conference dinner of the American Friends of Lubavitch, declared in the President’s presence that “Each of you can be assured the United States will never abandon Israel or her people.”
The dinner, organized by Rabbi Abraham Shemtov of the Lubavitch Center in Philadelphia, was the occasion of the formal announcement of the establishment of the “United States Senator and Mrs. Hugh Scott Library” on the campus of Girls Town, Kfar Chabad II, in Israel, a project sponsored by the world-wide Lubavitch movement to provide educational and vocational training for girls on the high school and college levels.
Ford, who was introduced by Bernard Segal, former president of the American Bar Association, opened his remarks with “Shalom.” Then, looking to Scott, he said, “Hugh is one of the first people I turn to when I have ‘tzoris’ and in the last few weeks, have I had ‘tzoris. The President praised the Lubavitch movement’s commitment “to preserving the deep and abiding faith of the Jewish tradition for the young and succeeding generations.”
Referring to Ford’s meeting with Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin in Washington next month, Scott said, “Out of this meeting I hope will come a pledge of continued arms support to Israel by the United States; support to resist the efforts of the PLO and its terrorist allies to destroy legitimate peace efforts; a promise of continued economic assistance; an understanding that ‘reassessment’ of U.S. foreign policy in no way means that our historical commitments to Israel will be abandoned” and “recognition that any peace settlement must protect Israel’s territorial integrity.”
Scott said the American commitment to Israel “is a bond of friend to friend, of good friend to good friend, of a willingness to keep all pledges to keep them with strength whenever needed–in order to secure the future of Israel.” He also said that the U.S. has done “and we will continue to do, everything possible to encourage the Soviet Union to permit emigration to Israel of the many thousands who wish to come to the home of promise.”