NEW YORK (Nov. 4)
Mayor Yosef Almogi of Haifa said here today that there was an “imperative necessity” to establish “a real day-to-day dialogue, a day-to-day working relationship” between Israel and diaspora Jewry, especially the Jews of the United State, at a time when Israel, Zionism and Judaism have come under attack at the United Nations and the U.S. has become deeply involved in the fate of the Middle East.
Almogi arrived here yesterday for a speaking tour on behalf of Israel Bonds. He spoke and answered questions at a luncheon meeting of the American Jewish Congress today.
Almogi noted that “America is now entering the gates of the Middle East, the gates opened mainly by Israel. We are not sorry for American involvement in the Middle East because it may bring some chances and hopes with it” for peace in the region. He said that Israel always relied on help from American Jews which was particularly important at this time when the enemies of Israel, Zionism and Judaism were launching their attacks.
REALISTIC AND OPTIMISTIC
The Haifa Mayor and former Cabinet Minister described himself as “realistic” and “optimistic” that American Jews would be able to cope with the new situation. He stressed that one way to deepen their ties with Zionism and Judaism in this time of emergency was to give top priority to Jewish education in the U.S.
Replying to questions, Almogi said he was not disturbed by America’s new relationship with Egypt. He said Israel did not oppose American economic aid to Egypt because as long as the Egyptians’ aim was economic growth and development, the prospects of war were reduced. He said, however, that Israel was against American military aid to Egypt because that would only increase the chances of war.
EXPLAINS RECENT STRIKES
Almogi, who served as Minister of Labor in the Rabin government before his election as Mayor of Haifa two years ago, sought to explain the rash of labor disputes in Israel. He said strikes, such at those that grounded El Al for 19 days and the earlier disputes that shut down the port of Ashdod created disenchantment among American Jews at a time when they were being asked to increase their efforts on behalf of Israel.
He said Israelis themselves were disenchanted by this phenomenon, However, Almogi said, the labor strife had to be viewed in perspective. He said the strike at Ashdod, a town populated largely by recent immigrants, had indicated that the process of absorption and Integration into Israeli society was not fully achieved. On the other hand, Almogi defended Israeli workers who demand the maximum remuneration for their labors, noting that they give the maximum of themselves when called on to defend the country.
Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, AJ Congress president, who introduced Almogi, declared that “the coming months will require the most intensive effort by American Jews since the Sinai campaign of 1956 to help our follow Americans understand why U.S. aid to Israel serves, the best interests of our country and of the cause of peace.” He added: “We must make clear that our own country is a particular beneficiary of the Israeli withdrawal (in Sinai), that U.S. political and economic influence in the Middle East are growing, thus protecting and assuring the flow of Arab oil to the West.”