Golda Meir warned the 3000 delegates attending the closing session of the 80th annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America that the greatest danger facing Israel is to promote an illusion of peace when there is no real peace. “We want genuine peace,” she declared, “not an illusory peace. And for a genuine peace there is a majority in Israel that is ready to pay the price.”
The former Premier, who was presented with the ZOA’s Theodor Herzl Award by President Ephraim Katzir, recalled her two meetings with Jimmy Carter-one in 1972 when he was Governor of Georgia and the other shortly before his election. She expressed belief that President Carter is a friend of Israel and that he genuinely wants peace in the Middle East and a safe and flourishing Israel.
Mrs. Meir also stressed the need for aliya. She noted that no one can guarantee that Israel may not be attacked once again by the Arabs. “But if we are a million more Jews in Israel, the picture would have to be different,” she declared. She also criticized what she termed dangerous statements by friends and foes “who talk of guarantees, international or other. These will not prevent another war. War can be prevented only if Israel is strong. At the same time, a peace would not last if Israel is not strong and secure.” She said the wars Israel went through would be justified only if they ensured the continuation of Jewish existence.
The closing session was also addressed by Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, who was re-elected president of the ZOA. Jacques Torczyner, chairman of the convention committee, chaired the session.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.