Begin Appeals to American Jews to Stand United Behind Israel
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Begin Appeals to American Jews to Stand United Behind Israel

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Israeli Premier Menachem Begin appealed today to the American Jewish community to stand together behind Israel. “If we are united, we will make sure that Israel and the Jewish people will live in peace, justice and above all in human dignity,” Begin told more than 600 Israel Bond leaders at a breakfast at the Palmer House here.

Begin, who arrived here from Los Angeles last night, was enthusiastically received by the gathering this morning. The extremely warm reception he received from Jewish audiences here and in Los Angeles was seen as demonstrating strong support for Israel and the Begin policies in the American Jewish community.

At the breakfast today, Begin was presented a facsimile of a check for $10 million representing the results of a recent sale of Israel Bonds in the Chicago area synagogues. In addition, more than $4 million in new additional sales were announced at the breakfast.

Declaring once again that Israel will continue its efforts for peace, Begin pointed out that in Israel itself there are social problems to be solved. He urged American Jewry to increase its purchase of Bonds to help in solving them. He said he hoped that the 30th anniversary of Israel will also be marked by progress in solving the human problems of Israeli society.

Reiterating his satisfaction over the friendly atmosphere of his Washington talks, Begin declared that Israel will not agree to return to the pre-1967 borders and said that Israel will not let a Palestinian state “bent on our destruction” come into being.


Begin’s appearance at today’s breakfast was the beginning of a hectic day in Chicago. He addressed a luncheon sponsored by the United Jewish Appeal. This evening Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic was due to host a dinner for the Israeli leader and present him with a medallion and honorary citizenship of Chicago. After the dinner Begin was scheduled to receive an honorary doctor of law degree in a ceremony at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Begin and his entourage are staying at the Hyatt Regency Hotel under tight security. Despite the strict security measures, many Chicagoans gathered at the entrance to watch Begin arrive or leave. The Israeli Premier was expected to be met by demonstrations tonight at Northwestern by a coalition of Arab, Iranian and Black students who oppose the decision of the university to grant him a degree.

When Begin arrived last night at O’Hare Air Force Reserve Facility, he was greeted by the Mayor and a delegation of Chicago area Jewish leaders and Israeli officials including Nahum Shamir, the Israeli Consul General in Chicago. Begin will leave Chicago for New York tomorrow morning where he will stay at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of Mayor Edward Koch.

Before leaving Los Angeles yesterday, Begin addressed a luncheon of Los Angeles community leaders, Jews and non-Jews. He told them that a Palestinian state will be “a mortal danger to Israel” and warned that such a state would turn “in no time” into a Soviet base. He said that the Israeli plan for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will give the Palestinians “self-rule and autonomy.” He declared that Israel will not give up hope for peace.

Concluding his visit to Los Angeles, Begin affixed a mezuzah to the door of the Menachem Begin Institute of Jewish Studies of Yeshiva University, an institution that was officially dedicated in his presence. Begin was received at the university door by singing students and school children who carried Israeli flags and banners supporting Israel.

Begin earlier in the morning had met with California Gov. Jerry Brown who later announced that California and Israel are to set up a joint foundation to pioneer solar research. “California and Israel not only have technology in common but share similar climates,” the Governor said.

A private foundation would be set up in California to raise funds for the project and Israel will contribute matching funds, Brown said. He said there would be an exchange of solar experts and the research would be done in agriculture and in photovoltaic cells which generate electricity from the sun.

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