NEW YORK (Mar. 13)
An Israel Bond Inaugural Dinner, which was originally scheduled to pay tribute to Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, turned last night into a rally of solidarity with the Jewish State and a memorial service to the victims of Saturday’s terrorist rampage in Israel.
More than 1000 Jewish leaders from the United States and Canada attended the dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The general mood was one of grief and mourning over the tragic event in Israel. Overwhelming support for Israel was expressed by the speakers at the dinner to the applause of the audience. Approximately $11,360,000 in Israel Bonds was purchased by the gathering.
Weizman, who left for Israel Saturday night after learning of the tragedy, declared in a broadcast message played last night that despite the recent atrocities by PLO terrorists the peace process will continue and that Premier Menachem Begin will soon be able to come to Washington for talks with President Carter. He said the raid on Saturday “is a reminder of what security means to Israel, what hostile countries around us can mean, how detrimental they can be to us.”
WILL NOT STOP DESIRE FOR PEACE
Simcha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, who replaced Weizman as the evening’s principal speaker, declared that the terrorists and their atrocities “will not stop Israel’s desire for peace.” But he spoke bitterly about the recent anti-Israeli trend in the United Sates and
“It is a shame that we have to have 37 funerals to remind our friends (in the United States) of the true face of the PLO,” Dinitz declared. He said that the massacre by PLO terrorists must make it clear once again what the dangers are for Israel from a Palestinian state and what is the true nature of the PLO. “The PLO has only one purpose: to kill Jews, ” the Ambassador said.
Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency before he delivered his speech, if the Carter Administration is likely to take a more balanced approach toward Israel in the aftermath of the terrorist raid, Dinitz said “it is hard to predict.” He noted that Begin will be in Washington next week and Israeli-American relations will probably get clearer. He added that the media has “magnified” the talks of a “split between the two countries” and that he does not accept the interpretation of the media that Israel has backed off on Security Council Resolution 242. “Israel has never relinquished Resolution 242 as the basis for negotiation in the Mideast,” he stated.
A declaration of solidarity with Israel by the Bonds leaders was read in the course of the evening. Sam Rothberg, general chairman of the Israel Bond Organization, said that, “Unfortunately, President Sadat’s peace discussions with Israel do not end the destructive desires and murderous plans of the PLO, who say they want peace but instead murder innocent men, women and children, these uncontrolled Arab fanatics in the countries that surround Israel.”
JEWISH LEADERS CONDEMN ATTACK
Meanwhile, American Jewish leaders continued to condemn the terrorist outrage. Jerold C. Hoffberger, president of the Council of Jewish Federations, declared that the ruthless murder of innocent Israeli civilians “is an affront to all humanity that must horrify every decent person everywhere and which must be condemned by every nation, as our President has immediately done. It reminds the world again how critical every provision is to assure Israel’s utmost security.”
Leonard R. Strelitz, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, said the latest terrorist attack “is an unspeakable atrocity. It is about time mankind recognized terrorism for what it really is–a medium of murder viciously obstructing the cause of peace–and that people stop dignifying it with ‘moderate’ labels. “
Philip M. Klutznick, president of the World Jewish Congress, sent a message today to Begin, stating: “The anguish and anger of the government and people of Israel are shared by Jews throughout the world whose thoughts are with you. Our heartfelt sympathy goes to the bereaved families and to all Israel.”
Burton M. Joseph, national chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, also sent a message to Begin, stating: “We hope that leaders of civilized nations will recognize in this violent and bloody act that support of the PLO and its partners in terrorism is a threat to free peoples throughout the world.”
Leaders of the Chicago Jewish community condemned the terrorist raid and said: “We must remind our Administration and its advisors that this (the PLO) is an organization which they seek to install as Israel’s most intimate neighbor. That this unforgivable crime is openly called an act of ‘heroism’ by the PLO is a clear indication of the twisted madness that masquerades as the PLO political ideology.” The statement was signed by David Smerling, president, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; Raymond Epstein, chairman, Public Affairs Committee (PAC) of the Jewish United Fund; and Gary P. Ratner, chairman, PAC committee on Israel and the Middle East.
Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, president of the American Jewish Congress, said the PLO attack “demonstrated why Israel and the United States have opposed the creation of a separate Palestinian state that inevitably would be controlled by the PLO. It also points up once again the essential element of any Middle East peace: Israel’s need for security against military invasion and terrorist incursion.”
Dr. Judah J. Shapiro, president of the National Committee for Labor Israel, told 500 delegates at the annual midwinter conference of that organization, that “if there were any political motives” to the latest attack, “they were misdirected against a population which can only conclude that the outlaws of the PLO cannot be included in any legal and rational solution of the Israeli-Arab conflict.”
A resolution condemning the atrocity was adopted by acclamation at the 94th annual meeting of HIAS in New York last night. It proposed that the 1000 delegates present call upon “all free people and all freedom loving nations to apply massive pressure and take every conceivable measure to do away once and for all with this wanton slaughter of innocent people. The world must no longer stand by as it has done so often, so tragically, in the past.”
A New York rabbi charged yesterday that President Carter was “indirectly responsible” for Saturday’s terrorist outrage in Israel. Rabbi Avraham Weiss, of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, who organized a protest demonstration at the Isaiah Wall opposite United Nations headquarters, alleged that the Administration’s Middle East policies have “emboldened and encouraged the Palestinians to commit this kind of atrocity.”