Gazit: Arabs Need Peace More Than They Need War

The Arab nations today have a greater need for peace than to fight a war against Israel, Shlomo Gazit president of Ben Gurion University of the Negev, told the sixth annual Negev Award Dinner of the university’s American Associates last night. He said “the question today is not anymore can there be peace, but what Arab nations will next join the peace process.”

Gazit, a former head of Israeli intelligence and one of Israel’s foremost authorities on Arab relations, told the 600 guests from the U.S. and Canada, “President Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem symbolized the beginning of the end for the Israel-Arab conflict. It was the first time that the Arabs need for peace had the upper hand.”

The annual dinner, sponsored by the American Associates of Ben Gurion University (AABGU) honored 84-year-old Col. Jehiel Elywachar and his wife, Anna, for their “devotion and dedication to Israel, its people and peace.” Gazit presented the Elyachars with an antique pottery jug from the first Israelite period, 586 B.C.E., before the Persian invasion, mounted on an olive wood base. Elyachar was a former military aid to Generals Eisenhower and Bradley during the Normandy Invasion in World War II.

Dr. John Brademas, president of New York University, the evening’s principal speaker, was awarded the Ben Gurion University’s Silver Medal of Honor for his “concerns and ideals in strengthening the world through education” by the American Associates president, Robert Arnow, who also served as the dinner chairman.

Jane Fonda received a special tribute presented to her by Bobbie Abrams, chairman of the AABGU executive committee. The noted actress was presented with an ancient Roman perfume bottle inscribed “Humanitarian, Champion of Peace and Friend of Israel and Her People.”

In his opening remarks, Arnow told the dinner audience “this is not the time for criticism or evaluation. That must be done in Jerusalem. This is the time to dramatize to the world that Israel represents the most vital and important heartbeat for Jews all over the world and to demonstrate that we stand united on her behalf.” He stressed that “in the quest for peace, Ben Gurion University plays a vital role.”

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