NEW YORK (Dec. 10)
American Jewish leaders and Israeli officials in the United States mourned the death of former Israeli Premier Golda Meir this weekend. Memorial prayers for her were said in synagogues throughout the U. S.
At the United Jewish Appeal’s national conference, some 2500 persons at the gala 40th anniversary banquet at the New York Hilton last night stood in a moment of silence to Mrs. Meir. The noted writer, Elie Wiesel, who was the featured speaker, praised her as “one of the most striking powerful people” in Jewish history. He said that he had developed a deep personal friendship with Mrs. Meir, through many conversations in Yiddish in New York and Jerusalem, that grew more profound over the years.
Earlier, Irwin field, UJA’s national chairman, said that “Golda was, and is, unforgettable.” He said “she was truly a giant among us, larger than life, and her legacy to us and all Jews everywhere is larger than the death that has overtaken her. We’re grateful that she lived to see the beginnings of the peace for which she yearned for the sake of the mothers and children of all the nations of the Middle East. When that peace becomes a reality, she will have been one of its primary architects.”
Addressing the 54th annual Chanukah Dinner of Yeshiva University at the Waldorf Astoria tonight, Yehuda Blum, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, said that Mrs. Meir “has left her indelible mark well beyond the confines of Israel and the Middle East. Her statesmanship and indomitable courage in the face of adversity have already assured her a permanent place in the annals of human history.” He noted that she “stood as a giant on the Israel political scene for more than a generation” and called her “a modern-day Deborah.”
COMPARED GOLDA TO MOSES
Simcha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador to Washington, at a farewell luncheon for him by the Overseas Writers at the Capitol Hilton in Washington, said that like Moses who took his people toward the promised land but died before going there, Mrs. Meir searched for peace and “in the last moments it was snatched away.” Dinitz, who was a close personal assistant to Mrs. Meir for many years before becoming Ambassador, said for “her the promised land was peace.”
Former Foreign Minister Abba Eban said in a television appearance that while Mrs. Meir did not live to see peace achieved she took the first steps to achieve it by the disengagement agreements of 1974 following the Yom Kippur War. He said one of her greatest qualities was the ability to simplify major issues. “It was possible to disagree with her, but it was impossible not to understand her, ” he said.
Yoseph Kedar, Israel’s Consul General in New York, said Mrs. Meir’s life was a symbol of Israel’s history. The Israeli Consulate will be open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for people to sign a Book of Condolence.
Morton Mandel, president of the Council of Jewish Federations, and Philip Bemstein, executive vice-president, declared that Mrs. Meir’s death “deprives the world of a leader who embodied the most important human qualities–vision, strength, warmth and compassion–combined with the ability to inspire, strengthen and lead people.” I. K. Goldstein, president of the Labor Zionist Alliance, said: “Her philosophy derived from Labor Zionism and its struggle to establish a cooperative society in Israel based upon a revitalized Jewish people living in its own land.”
Theodore Mann, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Mrs. Meir “was a Jew who dedicated every fiber of her being to the dignity and security of her people.” Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the World Zionist Organization-American Section, said that “Golda was one of the great leaders of our generation” who “was single-minded in her love for her people and her devotion to the State of Israel.” Philip Klutznick, president of the World Jewish Congress, said “She occupied the highest office in her country, and was at ease with the greatest statesmen of the world, but she never last her simplicity and her love for the ordinary people.”
Other Jewish leaders who paid tribute to Mrs. Meir included Bernice Tannenbaum, president, Hadassah; Jack Spitzer, president, B’nai B’rith International; Richard Maass, president, American Jewish Committee; Frieda Leemon, president, Pioneer Women; Sam Rothberg, general chairman, Israel Bond Organization; the leadership of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in New York; and the leadership of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago.
Also, Esther R. Landa, president, National Council of Jewish Women; Maxwell E. Greenberg, chairman, Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith; Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president, Union of American Hebrew Congregations; Howard Squadron, president, American Jewish Congress; Rabbi Saul I. Telpitz, president, Synagogue Council of America; Donald M. Robinson, president, Joint Distribution Committee; Albert D. Chernin, executive vice-chairman, National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council; Alfred Gottschalk, president, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; Sarah Shane, president, American Mizrachi Women; Julius Berman, president, Union of Orthodox Congregations of America; and Bernard Backer, president, Workmen’s Circle.