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Ben-gurion Opens 1967 Allied Jewish Appeal Drive in Philadelphia

March 7, 1967
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A speech this evening at the inaugural dinner of the Federation of Jewish Agencies 1967 Allied Jewish Appeal climaxed David Ben-Gurion’s visit to Philadelphia. Earlier in the day, Mr. Ben-Gurion took time out from his busy schedule to lay a wreath at the Monument to the 6,000,000 Jewish Martyrs on Benjamin Franklin Parkway as a huge crowd looked on.

Later he was tendered a reception by the City of Philadelphia in the Mayor’s reception room to which leaders of the Jewish community and members of the City Council were invited. At the ceremony, Frank L. Neuburger, Jr., president of the Federation of Jewish Agencies, and Raymond G. Perlman, general chairman of the Allied Jewish Appeal, both praised the first Prime Minister of Israel for his continued interest in the welfare of the Jewish people.

Pledges made in response to the former Prime Minister’s plea for maximum support of UPAS immigrant absorption programs in Israel were called the most impressive in a decade by Philadelphia leaders. Effective absorption, especially through improvement of social and economic conditions and expansion of educational opportunities in development towns, is the key to the future, Mr. Ben-Gurion asserted. He called on American Jews throughout the country, in making their 1967 US gifts, to match the spirit and level of giving for education which he had encountered in New York and Miami where close to $1,000,000 was pledged to the UPAS Israel Education Fund for construction of a high school and for teacher training scholarships in Side Booker.

Mr. Ben-Gurion was presented with a small replica of the Liberty Bell by Mayor James HI Tate, who pointed out that the inscription on the bell “Proclaim Liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof” came from the Book of Leviticus in the Bible. He said the bell was a symbol of the friendship of the people of Philadelphia for the people of Israel and expressed the hope that Israel would be able to live in peace with its Arab neighbors.


At the Allied Jewish Appeal dinner, Edward Ginsberg of Cleveland, Associate General Chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, pointed out that in Israel Jews walk proudly as free men. In other bright free corners of the world Jews walk more proudly because of what has been accomplished in Israel, he added. In most parts of the world still dark with oppression, Jews faced their misery fortified with hope that some day they may be able to go to Israel, Mr. Ginsberg said.

Mr. Perlman presented Mr. Ben-Gurion with a bound replica of a letter by a Philadelphia Jew describing the community rejoicing in 1788 upon the ratification of that article of the Constitution guaranteeing religious freedom to all. Mr. Neuburger cited Mr. Ben-Gurion for his “years of sacrifice and courage” that led to the establishment of the modern state of Israel. A memento of the inaugural dinner was presented to each of the community leaders attending — a bronze Ben-Gurion medallion in a specially inscribed presentation box.

In an address in Hebrew at Gratz College last night, Mr. Ben-Gurion linked past and future by pointing to the great achievements of Jewish history, based on unity and moral strength, as a model for Israel’s efforts in the coming decades. “Israel needs diaspora and diaspora needs Israel,” he said. “If only five percent of idealistic American Jewish youth would come, it would be tremendous encouragement to others. This is a question of life and death for the future of Jews in Israel and America.”

Mr. Ben-Gurion will leave for Los Angeles tomorrow morning on the third leg of his UJA-sponsored itinerary. They will also spark the UJA community campaigns in Chicago and New York and will visit Boston before departing, via Montreal and London, for Israel.

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