Begin Calls on World Jewry for Commitment to Aliya and for Funds to Liberate Israel from Poverty

Premier Menachem Begin extended Rosh Hashanah greetings to world Jewry today with a call for aliya, to provide “the necessary funds to liberate our nation, once and for all, from poverty,” and to undertake “the study of Hebrew as a second spoken language throughout the communities of the Diaspora.”

The Premier listed aliya as the first of the “challenges of our generation.” He observed that “Of the some twelve million Jews around the world…no more than one quarter has ingathered into our reborn homeland. This good land cries out for our return to Zion, from west and east. The majority of our brethren in the Soviet Union are deprived of this right. It is incumbent, therefore, on the Jews of the free world to renew and intensify the human struggle for the right of repatriation to Zion of our fellow Jews in the Soviet Union-and in Syria-who seek to reach Zion and freedom.”

Begin added that “In the democratic countries our Jewish brethren are able to embark on aliya of their own free will. I call upon them today, in this Jewish season of recommitment. I call particularly upon our younger generation: Arise and come build up the land-for your sakes and ours-and for the sake of the coming generations.”

URGES DOUBLING CONTRIBUTIONS

Begin noted that “Here, in our small Jewish homeland, there prevails a problem of poverty that is intolerable to a nation which, from the time it emerged onto the stage of history, was commanded: ‘Thou shalt pursue justice.’ I speak of the lot of 45,000 families in Israel who live in housing conditions that are insufferable to us, as a Jewish society. My appeal, therefore, is directed to my fellow Jews in the Diaspora who have given so magnificently over the years-to the UJA and the Keren Hayesod and for the purchase of Israel Bonds.

“I ask them on the occasion of Israel’s 30th anniversary to double this year their contributions and purchases. The extra sums will be totally ear-marked for the construction of decent new houses for tens of thousands of families in Israel living in distressful conditions. . . Let each fellow Jew–once in 30 years–double his contribution for the up building of our Land, thereby providing the necessary funds to liberate our nation, once and for all, from poverty and eradicate its scourge from within our society to whom liberty and social justice are supreme Jewish values.”

CALLS FOR STUDY OF HEBREW

Begin called the study of the Hebrew language particularly by Jewish youth abroad “the key to a profounder understanding of our Jewish heritage, our sources, our history, our life. To give to your children this knowledge is to rescue them from an assimilation that is eroding and eating away at our fine youth, leading them to estrangement, so that each year thousands and tens of thousands simply vanish,” Begin said.

Finally, the Premier called on the Jewish people to “stand together” in “the throes of an historic struggle for the just cause of Eretz Yisrael, in the final analysis, this is a struggle to guarantee the lives, the security, the liberty and the peace of our children and grandchildren.”

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