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Wjc Assembly Opens in Geneva; Goldmann Reviews Jewry’s Problems

August 5, 1953
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Hope that those Jewish groups in the United States and other western countries who oppose emigration of Jews from those countries to Israel would revise their views, was expressed here tonight by Dr. Nahum Goldmann acting president of the World Jewish Congress, in an address at the opening session of the Third Plenary Assembly of the organization.

“These groups,” Dr. Goldmann said, “thoroughly friendly and helpful to Israel and concerned about Israel’s future, are of the mistaken nation that to urge Jews to go to Israel is somewhat incompatible with the loyalty and devotion to the countries in which they live. The sooner this attitude is rooted out of Jewish life, the better.”

“No one regards the millions of non-Jews who want to emigrate from Europe–many of whom helped by their countries to do so–as disloyal,” Dr. Goldmann continued. “Why then should Jews sharing the same desire he considered so?” he asked.


Dr. Goldmann also expressed hope that the resumption of diplomatic relations by the Soviet Government with Israel would result in a change in the emigration policies of the Soviet Union and the other countries behind the Iron Curtain, thus opening larger reservoirs of potential Jewish immigrants to Israel.

The most pressing responsibility in Jewish life today, Dr. Goldmann emphasized, is aiding Israel to solve her complex economic, political and social problems “which threaten the very existence of the Jewish State.” He described these problems as “enorm###s,” requiring years and perhaps decades of determined effort before they can be solved.

Israel’s major problems which must find solution to assure her existence are that of achieving peace with the Arab world, of integrating the Jewish State into a community of nations in the Middle East, of developing a national economy which will make Israel a self-sustaining Jewish community, and of moulding hundreds of thousands of immigrants from a score of countries and of diverse background, cultures and languages into a homogeneous group of Israeli citizens, he said.

“Israel’s difficulties,” Dr. Goldmann pointed out, “stem from the fact that the Jewish State was born in one of the most sensitive strategic spots on earth and was burdened with the task of absorbing hordes of immigrants in such a brief period of time.” He termed the efforts which will be required on the part of Israel and world Jewry to surmount these difficulties as even “more arduous” than the ones which involved Jewry in the launching of the Jewish State five years ago.


Dr. Goldmann suggested two courses of action as basic to the ultimate solution of Israel’s difficulties: 1. Because Israel is unique among nations in that only a small proportion of its total or potential population resides there presently, every step should be taken to increase Jewish immigration to Israel; 2. Because Israel cannot hope to solve her problems without unstinted support of world Jewry, greater understanding and amity must be developed between the two.

“Both must become concerned with the totality of the Jewish people, with its needs, interest and ideas,” Dr. Goldmann stated. “Israel’s responsibilities stemming as they do from tasks of statehood and that of the Jewish communities outside of Israel which are based on domestic and general problems–such as relationships with other groups, anti-Semitism, health, Jewish education and religious needs–must be brought into balance.

“It would be unfortunate if a conflict were permitted to develop between these two sets of responsibilities,” Dr. Goldmann continued. “Instead, a way must be found whereby the Jewish communities outside of Israel will realize that their dignity and their very survival is linked with the future and the survival of Israel, and whereby Israel will realize that it must have the help of the Jewish people to survive and that Israel’s future is dependent on the well being — material and spiritual–of the Jewish people as a whole.

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