1000 People Celebrate Israel’s Anniversary in Open Air Program
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1000 People Celebrate Israel’s Anniversary in Open Air Program

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American Zionists celebrated Israel’s 30th anniversary last night with songs, dance, films and pledges of Jewish unity in support of Israel. The celebration, sponsored annually by the American Zionist Federation was attended by nearly 1000 persons who chanced an unusually cool evening for the outdoor program at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater.

Against the background of a film depicting Israeli history and scenes and the natural beauty of a lake outside the theater and the Manhattan skyline, the audience was entertained by an Israeli troops called “Here is Israel,” which sang songs illustrating Israel’s history. Before the show, early arrivals were treated to songs by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and Israeli dances by the Star Dancers of the NETA Chapter of Bnai Zion on the park’s Great Lawn.

Chaim Herzog, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, told the crowd that Israel was making progress toward peace, a step he believed was “irreversible.” Herzog challenged those who have charged that Israel is being intransigent in the present peace-seeking efforts noting that the Egyptians themselves have said that there have only been 15 hours of actual negotiations between Israel and Egypt. He pointed out that it took the United States 13 years to negotiate the Panama Canal treaties and four years to negotiate a peace settlement in Vietnam.

The Israeli Ambassador, who will be leaving his UN post next month after three years, was given a farewell reception by the AZF earlier in the day attended by about 60 persons.


The gathering last night was told by Rabbi Israel Miller, AZF interim president, that the Carter Administration’s linking of its supply of planes to Israel with the sale of planes to Egypt and Saudi Arabia was “immoral.” He said it will continue to be “immoral” no matter even if there is a reported compromise to provide Israel more planes because the U.S. was “committed” to provide the planes to Israel.

Miller stressed that a weak Israel will be of little help to the U.S. while a strong Israel can proceed with the peace process in whatever form it takes. He said the Jewish community must demand that the Administration show its support for Israel in “deeds” and not just words “and receptions on the White House Lawn.”

Sen. Jacob Javits (R.NY), who was to have attended the celebration but had to remain in Washington because of the negotiations on the Mideast plane sales, sent a telegram in which he said that American Jews who saw Israel’s birth “have the sacred duty” to see the U.S. helps Israel survive.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eugene Gold, chairman of last night’s event, stressed that the differences that appear among American Jews “should not be confused with a lack of Jewish solidarity.” He said something new has happened to Jews throughout the world: their readiness “to raise their voices and demand as one, dignity, decency and security.”

Gold, who is also chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, said Jews must work to see that “Soviet Jewry shall be free, Israel shall be secure” and Jews everywhere have the freedom for the growth and enhancement of the Jewish ideal. Among those in the audience were 50 students from the Bialik Hebrew School in Toronto.

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