MONTREAL (May. 11)
Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Tradeau of Canada told an audience of 18,000 celebrating the 30th anniversary of Israel’s independence here last night that “the legitimacy of the State (of Israel) cannot rightfully be questioned,” and that “Israel has constructed one of the most advanced societies in the world and represents a powerful confirmation of the Jewish fact in face of the insidious forces of assimilation.
In his 20-minute address, which he delivered ultimately in English and in French and which was interrupted by applause 18 times, Trudeau likened the situation that Israel finds itself in today to “that of the ancient Hebrews. It is a situation made up of very complex and shifting forces including neighbors strong in their own legitimacy,” he said.
“Like its distant forefathers, Israel is forced to take into account both this complex situation and these legitimate claims, painful though this may be after so many trials and so much suffering. This means that in Israel the desire to obtain peace and will to exist, tend to form a single objective,” Trudeau declared.
He observed that this was the reason “why we should attach much importance to increasing the exchanges between Israel and the Arab countries. These approaches, these gestures which are not afraid to set aside diplomatic conventions, give us fresh hope for they seem to signify a growing concern for justice.”
Trudeau spoke at a gala Independence Eve rally at the Montreal Forum, sponsored by the Montreal Jewish community in conjunction with the Canadian Zionist Federation. More than half of the members of the Federal Cabinet attended as well as representatives of the Quebec government and national assembly, Mayor Jean Drapeau of Montreal, Claude Ryan, leader of Quebec’s Liberal Party and numerous other dignitaries. The four-hour program included dances, music and choral performances.
Speaking on behalf of the Israeli government, Israel’s Consul General Zvi Caspi declared: “Out of the ashes of Auschwitz and the flames which engulfed the ghetto walls, emerged the State of Israel with a vow that never again shall Jews be at the mercy of those who seek their destruction.”