Menu JTA Search

Knesset Devotes Special Session to American Bicentennial

Premier Yitzhak Rabin said yesterday that Israel and the United States share a common heritage that rises from a common source. He warned America, however, against isolationism and stressed that Israel must be prepared to defend its independence by itself.

Rabin addressed an extraordinarily well attended special session of the Knesset dedicated to the American Bicentennial. The galleries were filled with guests, prominent among them President Ephraim Katzir, U.S. Ambassador Malcolm Toon. Supreme Court judges, the two Chief Rabbis, Jewish Agency officials and foreign diplomats.

Referring to the Uganda rescue mission that was accomplished on the eve of the 200th anniversary of American independence, Rabin declared. “I feel that there is a deep link of content and symbol between the two events that took place on that date. Both express the essence of the contents of the Zionist and American revolutions.”

He praised the U.S. not as just a “rich uncle” to Israel “but a people and a state who have faced tyranny and dictatorship in two world wars. However, Rabin added. “If it happens that the U.S. will deviate from its function, isolate itself and turn its back on the free world, democracy and freedom will be in danger.” Rabin said that while Israel recognizes the U.S. as the leader of the free world, a nation that is not ready to use all of its human and material resources to defend its independence will not be saved by others.

URGES U.S. MOVE EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM

Likud leader Menachem Beigin, speaking for the opposition, praised the U.S. He used the occasion to urge the U.S. to move its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which he described as “the most ancient capital in the world but the only capital in which the Ambassador of the U.S. does not reside permanently.”

Later, after the assembled guests toasted the Bicentennial, Toon thanked Rabin and Beigin for their speeches. “As usual. I do not agree with everything Beigin said, but as always I shall report his words to my superiors, but always with a brief editorial comment,” Toon said.

MONTH-LONG BICENTENNIAL EXHIBIT

Meanwhile, a month-long Bicentennial exhibition was opened at the Hebrew University in the presence of the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, Thomas Dunnigan, faculty and administrative staff and invited guests. The exhibition, titled “Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land,” was assembled with the assistance of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation. It features books and pictures portraying the founding of a new society in the new world, the establishment of the American republic and the role of immigrants in the formation of American society.

NEXT STORY