JERUSALEM (May. 3)
President Chaim Herzog of Israel delivered an upbeat message to the Jewish communities of the world on the eve of the celebration of Israel’s 39th Independence Day, May 4.
The nation has “forged ahead with its program of economic rehabilitation, it is moving forward in its international relations” and “there are encouraging developments in Israel’s connections with the Third World, and indications from the Soviet Union which arouse hopes,” Herzog said.
“In the near future, we shall be celebrating a most memorable and moving event–the unification of the city of Jerusalem 20 years ago. The tragedy of the division of the holy city has been replaced by new life and beauty, befitting its central role in the spiritual history of the Jewish people and much of mankind,” Herzog said.
“We look to reunited Jerusalem as a focus for increased understanding, a gateway to peace and an inspiration for the realization of our noblest ideas,” the President’s message declared.
CITES SERIOUS PROBLEMS
He acknowledged that “In the year now ending, we have had to face serious problems.” The goal of peace is obstructed by “the lack of interlocutors like the late President (Anwar) Sadat, ready to take risks for peace.”
There is also the problem of internal harmony which “depends on fostering tolerance and mutual respect among Arabs and Jews, among groups of varied origin,” he observed. He urged an end to the polarization between the secular and the profoundly Orthodox.
“We cannot forget that this grave problem is not confined to Israel. It exists throughout world Jewry and is, in some cases, encouraged by elements in world Jewry. It must be jointly countered by all of us if we do not wish our people to be fragmented and our history compartmentalized,” Herzog said.
He also spoke of immigration. “We have the heart-warming duty of thinking through new approaches to the absorption of the actual and potential aliya for which we pray–aliya to come, we hope, from Eastern Europe, Ethiopia and Syria and also from all other great Jewish communities in the Americas, in Western Europe, in Australia and from Southern Africa.”
Finally, Herzog said, “Let us recall all the pioneers and builders–those who fought for our independence, the immigrants and the settlers in all areas of our country, in the north and in the south, in the towns and in the villages, in the kibbutzim and in the development towns.”