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Stirs Dignitaries in Chicago

February 5, 1976
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Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s touching story of his father’s life in Chicago stirred a host of dignitaries and officials gathered to honor him Monday at the most elaborate state dinner ever given by the city of Chicago. At the dinner, following a mass rally of Jewish community leaders expressing solidarity with Israel, Rabin received the medal of the city of Chicago from Mayor Richard Daley, who expressed his personal support as an Irish American for the cause of Israel.

The kosher dinner for Rabin packed the Palmer House grand ballroom with 700 Chicago business and political leaders, including 200 members of the Jewish community invited by the Mayor and the City Council, sponsors of the event. When Daley toasted Rabin with Israeli champagne, the Premier’s responded by saying, “Seventy years ago, a poor young refugee ran away from Russia,” and “came to this city where he was allowed to get an education…and learned the meaning of freedom and democracy and the rights of individuals.”

Rabin told how this refugee later joined the Jewish Legion of the British Army in World War I to help free Palestine from Turkey. When Rabin revealed that the refugee had been his father, the audience was visibly moved.

The glittering dais included Philip M. Klutznick, dinner chairman and former UN Ambassador; Gov. Daniel Walker; Sen. Charles H. Percy; Undersecretary of State Joseph J. Sisco; Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz; Ehud Avriel, Israel’s Consul General for the Midwest; and John Cardinal Cody, Archbishop of Chicago, who delivered a benediction praising Rabin and expressing hope for peace in the Middle East and the permanence of the State of Israel.


Earlier, Rabin had told the rally of 3000 Chicago Jewish leaders that peace will come to the Middle East only when Arab leaders “change their policy of ignoring our right to exist.” This will only happen if Israel can maintain a strong military and economic posture, Rabin said. The rally was co-sponsored by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and State of Israel Bonds. Maynard I. Wishner, chairman of the JUF public affairs committee, extended the Jewish community’s welcome to the Premier. Sol Goldstein, a long-time JUF and Jewish Federation leader, and 1976 chairman for Chicago’s State of Israel Bond drive, introduced Rabin.

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