Tekoah Tells Hadassah Parley That Israel Will Stand Firm on Demand for Direct Talks
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Tekoah Tells Hadassah Parley That Israel Will Stand Firm on Demand for Direct Talks

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Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, yesterday reiterated his Government’s position that only through direct negotiations with the Arab states can Middle East peace be achieved. In an address before 2,000 delegates to the 55th annual convention of Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization of America, the envoy said that “this is the normal, generally practiced method for terminating war” and rejected the allegation that the Arabs are unable to negotiate and conclude agreements with Israel.

“During the last two decades various bilateral agreements have been negotiated, concluded and signed between Israel and the Arab states. The most significant were the armistice agreements signed by Israel with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria in 1949,” he said. These were followed, he said, by accords of a more limited nature on shipping, public health and inadvertent infiltration which were reached in talks between representatives of the parties and signed by their governments.

Meetings and talks between Israeli and Arab representatives, he maintained, have been a “common procedure.” “There is no logic, no justification, no candor in the suggestion that what was possible in 1949 and ever since should be considered impractical, impossible and unattainable today,” Mr. Tekoah said.

“The refusal to negotiate today, the refusal to conclude peace treaties emanates not from any position of principle but from the Arab decision adopted at Khartoum in 1967–no peace, no negotiations, no agreement with Israel.”When this decision is revoked, he added, the Arabs will have no difficulty in coming to the peace table.

The envoy spoke at the opening plenary session following the presidential report by Mrs. Max Schenk and a filmed greeting by Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Premier. In his remarks, Mr. Tekoah said that the recent visit of Mrs. Meir to Washington “has strengthened our confidence that we shall not be left without the means to confront the challenge to our situation.”


An “Israeli experience” will be the major goal of the youth movement Hashachar (The Dawn), sponsored by Hadassah, it was announced. Mrs. Everett Kalb, national chairman of the youth activities department, said that a step in this direction was the opening this summer of Hadassah’s Riklis Youth Center on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.

“The center has made it possible for increasing numbers of young people to spend time in Israel for study, travel, and work,” she said. The Youth Center, first structure in a complex of facilities to be rebuilt and opened on Scopus, this summer received a group of 130 American students on work, study, and travel scholarships. Hadassah also plans to extend its camping program “so that ultimately it will service every area in the United States,” Mrs. Kalb said. Through its national summer camp, Tel Yehudah in Barryville, N.Y. and regional camps in California, Texas, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire, Hadassah trains youth for leadership in clubs, seminars, discussion groups and other activities.

By its continuing sponsorship of a Zionist youth movement, Mrs. Kalb said, Hadassah has worked toward two major goals: “development of a reservoir of future leadership for the American Jewish community and the education of Jewish youth to the ‘centrality’ of Israel.”


An official of the American Jewish Committee told the convention that the “alienation of the Jewish intellectual” should not cause the Jewish community too much concern.

Milton Himmelfarb, director of the information and research services of the A.J. Committee, said at a session on Jewish education that the intellectual “by definition is alienated to the dominant culture, of necessity is a member of the “adversary culture,” and that historically there is “nothing new” in his predicament.

“As recently as the 1930s, what intellectual worth his salt would trouble himself with parochial concerns such as the Jewish question? The intellectual had to be a universalist involved in the problems of social and economic justice for all. He rejected particularism.”

Almost all your university professors in the 1930s were universalists, now they are less so and less alienated, he said. “Today,” he continued, “it is our intellectual alienated youth who are having a difficult time working out the paradox of their position–with respect to Jewish survival and particularism with respect to black demands of social and economic justice.”

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