JERUSALEM (Apr. 12)
President Ephraim Katzir offered a prayer “for the peace of Jerusalem, for peace in the land and in the world” in his Yom Ha’atzmaut message issued here today for the occasion of the 29th anniversary of Israel’s independence to be celebrated on April 21.
“We trust that in this greatest of aspirations we will have the understanding of the democratic countries with the United States continuing to play its leading role in the political processes aimed at bringing peace to the Middle East,” the President’s message said.
Katzir observed that the period since Israel declared itself an independent State was one fraught with problems, tension and uncertainty throughout the free world. “Inflation, low economic growth, labor unrest, accusations of misconduct in high places, instability in government, were experienced in country after country and in the public and private life of Israel as well,” Katzir said. “Nor has Israel been spared its own specific difficulties in international relations, border security, terrorist attack and conspiracy.”
MUCH TO TAKE PRIDE IN
But he said that Israel had much to take pride in and much to be thankful for. “In the context of Israel, reaction to terrorism assumed new dimensions,” he said, noting last year’s “dazzling Entebbe rescue raid,” Nor are Israel’s qualities confined to the war against terrorism. Katzir, a bio-chemist, observed that Israel has achieved “many a quiet victory in the fields of science and industry, technology, education and medicine, community organization, art and culture.”
He also referred to the “good fence” on Israel’s northern border which during Lebanon’s “tragic struggle” brought “healing, economic exchange and even employment to many hundreds of citizens” in southern Lebanon. He described the “good fence” policy as an “experiment in neighborliness” that he hoped “may expand and flourish and serve as an example for other good fences
Katzir Soviet Union. He said “The need for the lifeline between Israel and Russian Jewry has been re-emphasized by the intensification of virulent anti-Semitic propaganda within the Soviet Union today. In the face of this danger, in the face of widespread perils and anxieties, we can only re-dedicate ourselves to the fulfillment of Israel’s mission as Jewish home and center and of Jerusalem’s mission as Jewry’s spiritual center.
The President noted that “Israel, indeed, became the center of Jewish pilgrimage during all of this year” in response to the Jerusalem solidarity conference in 1975. He said “We remember with gratification” the presence of large groups and conventions “from virtually every free center of the Jewish population.”
Katzir’s Yom Ha’atzmaut message was released simultaneously in Jerusalem and by the Israeli Embassy in Washington.