Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Israel Day Celebrated at New York City’s “golden Anniversary Exposition”

September 16, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The establishment of close ties of friendship between the United States and the new Jewish State can hasten the coming of peace and the development of Israel as the youngest democracy in the Middle East, it was declared today at the observance of Israel Day at the Golden Anniversary Exposition of the City of New York. The guests of honor at the Israel Day ceremonies were a delegation of young Israeli war heroes who arrived in the United States recently for a nationwide tour in behalf of the $250,000,000 United Jewish Appeal campaign.

Acting on behalf of Mayor William O’Dwyer, Grover A. Whalen, chairman of the Mayor’s Committee for the Golden Anniversary, told the Israeli soldiers that “the City of New York is proud of the opportunity to receive representatives of Israel, the youngest democracy in the world. New York justly takes pride in the fact that many of its citizens have made signal contributions to the rebuilding of a homeland for the homeless and oppressed Jews of the world, just as it is proud of the fact that many of those homeless and oppressed who were in past years given haven here have played a major role in the growth of the City, the 50th anniversary of which we are now celebrating,” Whalen declared.

“We, in the largest city of the greatest democracy of the world, welcome the occasion of Israel Day to express our admiration for the courage and heroism of the people of Israel, who have taken on the tremendous job of building a new nation, despite almost overwhelming odds. We are confident that Israel will grow and prosper, and I know that the people of New York will continue all possible assistance to the builders and defenders of Israel through the United Jewish Appeal.


Lieutenant Shula Friedberg, of the Israeli Army’s Women’s Corps, presented an official insignia of the Israeli Army to Whalen. A miniature sword, around which an olive branch is entwined, the insignia, Lt. Friedberg told Whalen, signified “Israel’s strong desire for peace, and its equally strong determination to defend itself against all those who seek to deny it the opportunity to rebuild the Jewish nation on the ancient soil of Israel.”

Captain Yehuda Koppel, a veteran of Israel’s major battles who saw service with the British Army during World War II, speaking for the delegation, said that “we wish to convey to the people of New York the gratitude of the people of Israel for their support in the up building of the Jewish homeland.”

Official greetings from the Government of Israel were voiced at the reception by Arthur Lourie, Israeli Consul General in New York, who expressed his appreciation for the designation of Israel Day by the Major’s Committee. Pointing out that the state of Israel could not have come into being without sympathy and assistance from the United States, and from the people of New York in particular, Lourie said that “50 years from now, at similar celebrations in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities, New York will be honored for its expressions of friendship today.”

Recommended from JTA