Several hundred public officials, Israeli dignitaries, civic and religious leaders joined in dedication ceremonies here of Golda Meir Square in the heart of the garment center with the unveiling of a twice life size bronze sculpture of the former Israeli Premier.
The ceremonies, under the auspices of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC) and the City of New York, marked the completion of the remodeled square on Broadway between 39th and 40th Streets. The sculpture is by artist Beatrice Goldfine of Philadelphia. It is the only tribute of its kind in the U.S. to Meir.
The statue was commissioned by the Golda Meir Memorial Committee and the JCRC under the auspices of Jack Weiler, JCRC honorary president and chairman of the Golda Meir Memorial Committee.
“We hope that the square, in the heart of the garment center, which played an important role in the history of the Jews in New York, will serve as a gathering place on special occasions, while serving as a daily reminder to all who see it, of this great woman’s leadership and struggles for peace in Israel and justice throughout the world, ” Weiler declared.
REAGAN, MONDALE PAY TRIBUTE
President Reagan, in a telegram read at the ceremonies, praised the “fitting tribute to this great leader who played such an important role in the founding and development of the State of Israel.”
Democratic Presidential candidate Walter Mondale said in a telegram message that Meir “will live for ever in the history of the Jewish people and in the annals of human liberty … She was remarkable for her courage, her candor, even her bluntness.”
SPEECH BY MEIR TO UN ASSEMBLY RECALLED
Yiddish theater actress Stella Adler presented a dramatic reading taken from an October 7, 1959 speech Meir made to the United Nations General Assembly, entitled “A Solemn Appeal to the Arabs,” which concluded:
“Would it not be better for all to build a future for the Middle East based on cooperation? Israel will exist and progress even without peace, but surely a future of peace would be better both for Israel and for her neighbors …. Does hate for Israel and the aspiration for its destruction make one child in your country happier? Does it convert one hovel into a house? Does culture thrive on the soil of hatred? We have not the slightest doubt that eventually there will be peace and cooperation between us. This is a historic necessity for both peoples. We are prepared; we are anxious to bring it about now.”
JCRC president Peggy Tishman said, “This unique memorial … is a tribute by the people of New York to this great stateswoman, humanitarian, pioneer and leader as well as a monument to American-Israeli friendship.” Tishman also presented a plaque expressing gratitude to Goldfine. The Zamir Chorale, under the direction of Matthew Lazar, concluded the ceremonies with three elections.
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.