Jacobson: Zionism Must Be Heard on Local Scene to Be Effective

Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the American Section of the World Zionist Organization, warned that the Zionist movement cannot have a national impact if it is not effectively heard on the local scene.

The special challenge of the 1980s is the further strengthening of the Zionist movement, particularly in the American Jewish community, she told the sixth biennial convention of the American Zionist Federation which ended at Grossinger’s today. “We as Zionists have not gotten out to the local communities our sense of priorities to Israel. ” she said.

Mrs. Jacobson said Jewish education must be a Zionist priority. She urged the youth movements to include more programs for study in Israel. “Without youth education work in the diaspora, the future could be bleak,” she warned. On the question of aliya, she said there must be reaching out to the Jewish community to promote aliya, and noted that the American community produces only 3000 olim a year.

MIDEAST IS ‘SEA OF TURBULENCE’

Calling the Middle East, “A sea of turbulence,” with Israel and the United States the only bastions of democracy in the area, Harry Hurwitz, Minister of Information for the Israel Embassy in Washington, urged all Zionists, “to strive to see to it that the solidarity between the two countries be maintained,” He said he was confident that the partnership between the two countries will be continued and hopefully strengthened in the years ahead.

Noting that the war between Iraq and Iran has the potential of having serious connotations for the Western world, and the fact that the Soviet Union has been exercising “extraordinary influence in the Middle East for the past twenty-five years, also proves that the three countries bound up by the Camp David agreements — Israel, Egypt, and the United States — are not only bound by a document, but by common strategic interests in the area.”

SOVIET POWER IN THE MIDEAST

Dr. Steven Bryen, executive director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, also spoke of what he called Soviet power in the Middle East. He said the USSR is better prepared today to airlift men and supplies into the area than is the United States and cited the build-up of military equipment in countries such as Libya and South Yemen.

“The United States would be hard-pressed today to deliver emergency aid to Israel, ” he stated. “We are not prepared, as Russia is, to move large numbers of men to the area in a short time. If this country is not militarily strong, it will not have the capability to come to Israel’s aid. That is why I call on the Jewish community in this country to involve itself more in working to build up America’s military strength. It is fine to back U.S. deliveries of military equipment to Israel, but the United States must have the equipment Israel needs before it can deliver.”

Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president of the AZF, called on the members of the National Council of Churches (NCC) to urge their governing body to reconsider what he termed a “vicious and deplorable suggestion” in their policy statement adopted last Thursday that a Palestine Liberation Organization state be established on Israel’s borders. “I speak for the entire Zionist membership when I say that the Council’s call for peace and justice in the Middle East is seriously undermined by its distorted advocacy of a separate PLO state, ” Sternstein said.

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