NEW YORK (Nov. 11)
Climaxing a record setting United Jewish Appeal regional conference last week, former Israel Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan called for the reinforcement of what he termed two parallel strands of strength emanating from the United States: a bolstered U.S. presence in the Middle East, and the assurance of continuity in American Jewish support of Israel’s people.
Dayan was the keynote speaker at the banquet session of the UJA mid-Atlantic regional conference. The more than 1,000 American Jewish community leaders from five states and the District of Columbia established a new record for a regional UJA event. Pledges for the 1981 UJA campaign announced two days earlier at the Inaugural Dinner launching the conference showed a 63.6 percent rise over last year, the highest increase registered by any campaign event to date.
As a superpower in the world, Dayan declared, the U.S. has the right and responsibility to make its presence felt clearly and unmistakably in the Middle East. This was not a matter of sheer superpower confrontation, he indicated, but of effective support of peace and stability for all the peoples of the region.
“It is essential for the Middle East and for the entire world,” he said, “for the U.S. to show that it is not only a great and powerful country but really means to use that power if necessary … The American presence in Egyptian military bases is good for Egypt, for Israel, for the world … Further than that, I would hope that the U.S. would try to influence France not to build installations for nuclear weapons for Iraq… The key to many issues involved in peace or war lies here in this country.”
Dayan described the parallel domestic strand as the need to strengthen the historic partnership of the American Jewish community with Israel’s people. Particularly needed, he declared, was the transmission of Jewish values and a sense of global Jewish unity to the new generation of American Jews. “It is a matter of strength through continuity,” he stated, “a matter of helping the younger generation to remain Jewish and to care for their fellow Jews throughout the world.”
Some $3 million in pledges was announced at the dinner. In addition almost $2 million was pledged for Project Renewal.