The first telephone conversation between the United States and Palestine took place Monday when Dr. Chaim Weizmann, former President of the Zionist World Organization and the Jewish Agency, who is visiting his mother in Haifa for the Passover holidays, spoke to Jacob Landau, Managing Director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The voice of Dr. Weizmann was clearly heard over the line.
“I feel privileged,” Dr. Weizmann declared, “to be permitted to be the first to thus bridge this distance of about 5,000 miles between Palestine and New York. By a happy coincidence this happens to be the eve of Pesach, when the Jews in Palestine and throughout the world are celebrating the festival of the liberation of the Jews from the yoke of Egypt. Give to the Jews in the United States my greetings and those of Palestine Jewry. Palestine today is the only bright spot in the Jewish world, permeated by an atmosphere of healthy growth and steady progress. This feeling, however, is dimmed by the tragic occurrences in Germany, where the Jews, after having lived for 1,600 years on German soil and made a great contribution to every walk of life, enriching German literature and science to no mean degree, are deprived of their rights as citizens and turned into Pariahs.
“My message to the Jews of America is ‘Hope and Courage,’ Speaking from Palestine, from where the Jew made his great contribution to the moral development of the world by giving it the Bible, whence the conception of justice as the greatest human ideal preached by our Prophets has gone out to the world, I urge them not to despair for the future. The world-enlightened public opinion will not permit medieval anti-Semitism to uproot and destroy men and women for no other crime than that of belonging to the Jewish faith and race.
“To the Jews of the United States I say in this grave moment, at no time in Jewish history was there such need for a united front and for a great and concentrated effort for the upbuilding of the Jewish homeland in Palestine as in this trying hour which threatens the very existence of the Jew in the very heart of Europe.”
Dr. Weizmann informed Mr. Landau that he intends to come to the United States on July 1st and asked him to give his best wishes to Felix M. Warburg, prominently identified with the Jewish Agency for Palestine, Morris Rothenberg, President of the Zionist Organization of America and Louis Lipsky, President of the American Palestine Campaign.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.