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Kennedy Memorial Dedicated in Israel; Many Americans Attend Ceremony

July 5, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol dedicated today the John F. Kennedy Memorial in the Judean Hills before an assemblage of 2, 000 persons.

Hundreds of visitors from the United States attended the ceremony under a broiling sun, as did Israeli Ministers, Chief Rabbi Iser Yehuda Untermann and many other leading personalities. The memorial and the surrounding John F. Kennedy Forest are gifts of the American Jewish community and created by the Jewish National Fund. The idea was conceived by the late Max Bressler of Chicago, president of the American JNF, who died last year.

Addressing the audience, Chief Justice Warren said: “We choose to do this on the American Independence Day but also in honor of the independence of Israel and other free nations. We are all confronted here by history because this is the birthplace of the world’s three religions on which our own civilization is based and which contributed the all-important principle that all people are God’s children and entitled to live in peace.”

Justice Warren recalled the late President’s conviction that what Israel wanted above everything else was to live in peace. He added: “John Kennedy would have been deeply pleased by this way of honoring his memory.” He recalled that President Kennedy had declared that the JNF “has the highest idealistic vision, combined with practical wisdom.” He also recalled that the late President had a special friendship for Israel and a deep confidence in its future. The Chief Justice then said “As he would have done, I conclude with the word ‘Shalcm’.”


Premier Eshkol described the Memorial Building, located on a windswept hill towering above the valleys and hills leading to Jerusalem, as “another and lasting bond which will unite these afforested hills to the eternal flame of Washington’s Arlington Cemetery where the late President lies. “

Looking out over the barren hills where a huge forest bearing Mr. Kennedy’s name will be planted, the Premier said: “It is a fitting tribute that trees around the Eternal City of Jerusalem will be linked with the late President’s name, for it is written in the Bible that ‘man is a tree in the field.’ The day will come when children will play in the shadow of those trees and will remember the man for whom the forest is named.”

He said Mr. Kennedy’s memory would be kept alive here “not only as a friend of Israel but also as a symbol of the lofty ideals of his country and of all humanity.” He then dedicated the Memorial to “the man who opened new frontiers of international relations and human friendships.”

A huge crowd had collected early in the morning on the top of the hill where the memorial building stands in the shape of a cut tree, symbolizing the untimely death of Mr. Kennedy. A Jerusalem children band opened the ceremony with the Star-Spangled Banner as Mr. Eshkol and Mr. Warren arrived. Before the formal dedication there were addresses by Jacob Tzur, world chairman of the JNF; Herman Weisman, president of the American JNF; Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem and United States Ambassador Walworth Barbour.

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