NEW YORK (May. 23)
Rose E. Matzkin, president of Hadassah, lashed out today “at Jewish personalities who have taken it upon themselves to publicly criticize certain policies of the State of Israel at this critical juncture. Their statements are being picked up and exploited by organized dissidents within the Jewish community as well as by members of Congress and the Administration who would like to decrease various types of aid to Israel.” she said.
Mrs. Matzkin made her remarks at a press conference held before the housewarming of the new national headquarters, Hadassah House, 50 West 58 Street. She also condemned the politicization of the World Health Organization, with which Hadassah as a medical organization is affiliated, and described the improved health conditions of the population in the West Bank and Gaza, and the extensive medical assistance Hadassah and Israel have given to those Third World countries who now condemn Israel.
Mary Beame, the wife of New York City Mayor Abraham Beame, joined Mrs. Matzkin in the ceremony affixing the mezuzah to the entrance of the new building. About 300 guests–representing other organizations–attended a reception to which Uri Ben-Ari, Consul General of Israel brought greetings from the government of Israel.
DISSIDENT STATEMENTS EXPLOITED
In assailing the “Jewish personalities,” Mrs. Matzkin declared, without identifying them, “Their statements are being picked up and exploited by organized dissidents within the Jewish community as well as by members of Congress and the Administration.”
The Hadassah leader said that American Jews have numerous vital obligations–such as support of education, health, welfare and land reclamation–“which we willingly perform as our responsibility for the practical programs of Zionism which is essential for Israel’s survival.” However, she added, “Not amongst these is the right to dictate foreign policy or domestic stances to the government or the people of Israel. That has been and should continue to remain the sovereign duty of the State’s citizenry.”
Mrs. Matzkin observed that more productive ends would be reached “by a concerted effort amongst these dissidents to work toward the first step toward permanent and just peace in the Middle East: namely, the recognition by the Arab states of Israel’s inalienable right to exist.”
AID GIVEN TO DEVELOPING NATIONS
Focussing on the move by WHO to condemn Israel for the quality of medical and public health care it provides the people of the West Bank and Gaza in contravention of a report of their own representatives who said that health conditions had improved, Mrs. Matzkin declared that since 1960 numerous medical assistance programs have been provided by Hadassah and Israel’s Ministry of Health “to those Third World countries which have joined in condemning Israel.”
These included: more than 100 Hadassah doctors and nurses serving in developing countries, mainly in Africa; more than 300 doctors, nurses, public health workers and technicians graduating from or taking post-graduate courses at Hadassah in-the areas of occupational therapy, public health, dentistry, pharmacy, medicine and nursing; and the treatment of all, “regardless of race or religion, friend or foe,” at Hadassah Hospital.