Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Ben Gurion Welcomed in Detroit; Crowd of 10,000 Cheers Him in Front of City Hall

May 22, 1951
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel Premier David Ben Gurion received the welcome of the City of Detroit today at a civic reception at the City Hall. A crowd estimated at 10,000 gave him a tremendous ovation when he was presented by Selden B. Daume, chairman of Detroit’s 250th Birthday Festival, who presided at today’s function.

The speakers, who included Governor G. Mennen Williams of Michigan, and Mayor Albert Cobo of Detroit, as well as the Prime Minister, commented on the fact that the 250th anniversary of the founding of this city coincides with the third anniversary of the proclamation of Israel. Mr. Daume presented to Mr. Ben Gurion, as a memento of his visit, a special medallion on the Detroit anniversary.

The speakers welcomed the Israeli leader and expressed confidence in Israel as a democratic bulwark in the Middle East. They declared that through such leadership as Mr. Ben Gurion gave, Israel would prosper and develop as a democratic state. In a brief reply the Premier expressed thanks for the welcome and gratitude for the friendship the people of Detroit showed to the people of Israel. He declared that Israel would survive and would be a democratic center in the Middle East.


An American military color guard presented the American flag and a color award of Israeli veterans living in Detroit presented the blue-white flag of Israel while the Detroit Fire Department Band played the Star Spangled Banner and the Hatikvah. Hundreds of people broke through the police lines to shake the Premier’s hand. He smiled and shook hands with many of them.

The weather today was not and clear in sharp contrast to the torrential rainstorm last night when the Premier flew in to Willow Run airport from Chicago. About a thousand people braved the storm to greet Ben Gurion at the airport where a United States Air Force band played the Star Spangled Banner and the Hatikvah and the Premier was welcomed to the city by Max Osnos, chairman of the Detroit bond committee. The party proceeded to a Detroit hotel in an escorted 25-car motorcade.

At a press conference last night, the Premier expressed the hope that two Detroit-style industrial centers would be established in Israel–at Elath and at Haifa. This morning Mr. Ben Gurion, escorted by Edgar Kaiser, president of the Kaiser-Frazer Company, visited the company’s Willow Run plant. He expressed special interest in the mass production methods employed, particularly in the conveyor system. In the afternoon, after the civic reception, Mr. Ben Gurion went to the Ford Motor Company where he was luncheon guest of Henry Ford II.

Before Mr. Ben Gurion’s arrival, the Detroit City Council adopted a resolution calling on the city’s population to support the Israel Bond Issue. The Governor and Mayor issued proclamations naming today “Michigan Day for the State of Israel Independence” and “Ben Gurion Day.”

Recommended from JTA