NEW YORK (May. 18)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D. Mass.) sharply criticized the Reagan Administration’s intention to sell advanced F-5 fighter aircraft, portable Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and laser guided bombs to Jordan.
Addressing more than 1,500 people at the 60th annual dinner of Agudath Israel of America at the New York Hilton. Kennedy declared: “I reject the incredible idea of putting Jordanian warplanes, missiles and bombs within minutes of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the factories of Tel Aviv, the boatyards of Haifa, and the kibbutzim in Galilee.” Peace, Kennedy asserted, “can never be bought by compromising the security of Israel, or by surrendering even one inch of earth to Judenrein.”
Turning to the issue of Soviet Jewry, Kennedy said: “The Soviets may close Hebrew classes or confiscate books of Jewish learning, but they can never kill the idea of freedom. I am proud that we have worked together to reunite divided families and to free dissidents and prisoners of conscience from Soviet tyranny.”
Rabbi Moshe Sherer, president of Agudath Israel of America, presented the organization’s 1982 Humanitarian Award to Kennedy for his role in the reunification of Jewish families from the Soviet bloc countries. As port of the ceremonies, Sherer presented the Senator with a mezuzah which the organization had planned to present to the late Sen. Robert Kennedy.
Rabbi Shneur Kotler, dean of America’s largest rabbinical seminary, in Lakewood, NJ., and a member of Agudath Israel’s Council of Sages, urged the national religious movement to continue its historic mission of demonstrating the efficacy of a Jewry united under Torah. Referring to the efforts by the Aguda Party in Israeli to convince the government of Premier Menachem Begin to end El Al flights on the Sabbath and religious holidays, Kotler declared:
“For 4,000 years Jews have made sacrifices for the Jewish Sabbath, casting aside considerations of gains and losses. How can a national Jewish airline fly in the face of this glorious history?”
Governor Thomas Kean of New Jersey, whose father, a new Jersey Congressman, had been one of 36 Senators to petition President Harry Truman to recognize the State of Israel, observed that Israel had made enormous sacrifices for the sake of peace. He also applauded Agudath Israel for its activities. “I stand with you for your traditional values, the strength of family and commitment to timeless ideals,” Kean said.