15th Anniversary of Israel’s Independence Celebrated in New York
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15th Anniversary of Israel’s Independence Celebrated in New York

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Warning that the current tensions in the Middle East constitute “a threat to the peace of the world, ” Dr. Abba Hillel Silver called on the Washington Administration tonight to make “a clear-cut statement regarding Israel’s security.

Dr. Silver was the principal speaker at the 15th anniversary observance of Israel’s independence at an event in Philharmonic Hall, at New York’s new Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The event mixed sorrow with celebration, since part of the program was devoted to a memorial service honoring the late President Izhak Ben-Zvi of Israel.

Conducted under the auspices of the American Zionist Council, coordinating body of all Zionist organizations in this country, the assembly was greeted by messages from Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller and Mayor Robert F. Wagner. Rabbi Irving Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council, presented to Dr. Silver the organization’s annual Louis D. Brandeis Award in recognition of his “historic services to the Zionist ideal and to the rebirth of Israel. “

Having recently returned from Israel, Dr. Silver told the capacity audience crowding the auditorium that, while he found Israel prosperous and its people “busily at work building their homeland, ” one of the problems that disturbed them most deeply was their national security. Two events that disturbed the Israelis particularly, he said, were the discovery that Egypt is employing many German scientists to build jet fighters and to develop missiles, and “the latest attempt by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to unite the Arab world, with hatred of Israel as the cement for achieving their unity. “


He took strong issue with a statement recently made by W. Averell Harriman, Under Secretary of State, in which the latter expressed his opinion that removal of German rocket scientists from Egypt might cause their replacement “by Soviet bloc personnel, equally qualified on such work, again forcing the United Arab Republic into greater reliance on the USSR.” Declaring that he found it difficult to follow Mr. Harriman’s reasoning, Dr. Silver stated:

“We wonder whether this is all the wisdom and statesmanship our State Department can bring to bear upon the very perilous situation which is fast developing in the Middle East. Does not the situation call for a clear-cut statement on the part of our Government, regarding its deep concern for the continued security of Israel? Should not a word of rebuke be spoken to the Arab governments who are so shamelessly threatening to destroy a peaceful and sovereign state?”

The New York anniversary observance ushered in similar functions in many other major American communities throughout the country under the auspices of the American Zinnist Council. Dr. Miriam K. Freund, former president of Hadassah, and Rabbi I. Usher Kirshblum, a national vice-president of the Zionist Organization of America, served as co-chairmen of tonight’s event. Samuel H. Daroff, of Philadelphia, is national chairman for the anniversary celebrations.

The observance here was highlighted by a musical program with the participation of members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Elyakim Shapira, of Israel. Two Israeli artists, Erick Friedman and Netania Davrath, were soloists.


Ceremonies marking the celebration of Israel’s anniversary will be held tomorrow in City Hall Plaza with Mayor Robert F. Wagner as one of the major participants. The Mayor will address the open-air rally, along with Katriel Katz, Israel’s Consul General here. The

Gov. Nelson H. Rockefeller, in a formal greeting acclaiming Israel, said that “there are many practical reasons, as well as those of sentiment, for acclaiming this milestone in the history of a State which has proved itself a staunch ally, its institutions and way of life firmly rooted in libertarian principles.”

Leaders of major American Jewish organizations issued statements today hailing Israel’s anniversary, Joseph Meyerhoff, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, declared that “this notable anniversary is a time for all of us to renew our dedication and support to one of history’s most inspiring efforts to save and rebuild humamlives.” He warned that “Israel’s period of hardship and struggle is not over.”

Various organizations, meanwhile, today continued to send messages of condolence over the death of President Izhak Ben-Zvi to Israeli Premier David Ben-Gurion. Samuel H. Daroff, president of the American Jewish League for Israel, declared in a cable to Mr. Ben-Gurion: “We join with all the Jewish world in mourning the loss of Israel’s President Izhak Ben-Zvi, whose modesty and scholarship endeared him to his people and earned the admiration of all who knew him. His loss will long be felt. “

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