NEW YORK (Jan. 12)
Former Premier Golda Meir yesterday urged Zionist youth organizations to begin discussions among their memberships as to whether they were serious about going on aliya. She said young Jews should be willing to “meet the greatest challenge that a young Jew can be asked–to participate in the building up of the land.”
Mrs. Meir spoke to about 350 high school and college youth at a dialogue sponsored by the American Zionist Youth Foundation at Manhattan’s Central Synagogue. She had asked for the meeting to find out how American Jewish youth, both organized and unaffiliated, felt about aliya. Although many of the youths were prepared to ask questions on the entire gamut of Israeli and Jewish issues. Mrs. Meir limited the discussions to aliya which she said is the major problem facing Israel.
The former Premier stressed that “I cannot promise that there will be no more wars…that there will be peace” or that Israel would achieve “an ideal society in a year or two.” She said that she did not emigrate from the United States to then Palestine in the 1920s to help the Jewish people but to help herself. She said the reason young Americans should go to Israel is also for personal reasons–that they want to live in a Jewish State.
When asked about the leaders of Zionist organizations who do not make aliya. Mrs. Meir said young Zionists should decide to go to Israel when they are young or they will find themselves following the same patterns of the elders they now criticize. She said while youths are not always better than their elders they are “more apt to do the things they believe in.”
A Betar representative said that the Zionist youth organizations receive a total budget that is less than the salary of one Jewish Agency employe and urged more funds so that they could reach more young people. Mrs. Meir said she agreed they needed more funds but said the question at hand was whether the current membership of Zionist youth organizations were committed to making their aliya.