Senator Everett M. Dirksen Was Friend of Zionists, Favored Israel’s Security
Menu JTA Search

Senator Everett M. Dirksen Was Friend of Zionists, Favored Israel’s Security

Download PDF for this date

Sen. Everett M. Dirksen, the Republican minority leader in the U.S. Senate who died here yesterday at the age of 73, favored Zionist aspirations and Israel’s security during most of his long Congressional career which began in 1933.

As a member of the House of Representatives in 1942, the Illinois Republican joined in a Congressional resolution endorsing the 25th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. He visited Palestine two years later and told the press that there was room in the country for hundreds of thousands of additional refugees. In 1945 he urged President Harry S. Truman to support the establishment of a Jewish commonwealth and a year later joined the advisory council of the pro-Zionist American Christian Palestine Committee.

An early supporter of U.S. arms sales to Israel to maintain a regional balance of power, Sen. Dirksen in 1962 urged President John F. Kennedy to supply Israel with Hawk anti-aircraft missiles. In 1968 he offered a Congressional resolution honoring Israel’s 20th anniversary and calling for direct Arab-Israeli peace talks. Later that year, he urged the Johnson Administration to approve the sale of Phantom jet fighter-bombers to Israel.

Over the years. Sen Dirksen had advocated the resettlement of Arab refugees in Iraq, and has criticized American aid to Egypt. He also joined in a Congressional resolution protesting the treatment of Jews in Soviet Russia.

The acting Republican Senatorial leader and possible successor to Sen. Dirksen is Sen. Hugh Scott, of Pennsylvania, who has also been a leading supporter of Israel’s cause. Sen. Scott was instrumental in securing a pro-Israel plank in the Republican platform at the party’s national convention in Miami Beach last year. Sen. Scott, a liberal, also led the Republican bloc which criticized the Eisenhower administration’s Mideast policy during the Suez-Sinai crisis in 1956-57.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund