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Eban Speaks on Israel’s Security; is Awarded Honorary Law Degree

February 11, 1966
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Israel’s security is still that country’s “first and foremost” problem, Abba Eban, Foreign Minister of Israel, declared here today. While he has been assured in the major Western capitals that Israel “has the good fortune” to live in one of the more stable regions in the world, three factors affect Israel’s security, he said

He enumerated these factors as: “1) The balance of strength in the Middle East; 2) the desire of the Great Powers to maintain the status quo in the region; and 3) Arab disunity.”

Mr. Eban made that analysis at a reception held in his honor here by the leaders of the Jewish community, after he had delivered the commencement address at Temple University in this city. The university awarded Mr. Eban an honorary law doctorate. Others receiving that degree at the university ceremonies were Judge Abraham L, Freedman, of the U.S. Court of Appeals, and Pulitzer-prize winning author Conrad Michael Richter.

Mr. Eban was greeted at the headquarters of the Federation of Jewish Agencies by the Federation’s president, Frank I. Newburger, Jr., and by Jack Adler, representing the Allied Jewish Appeal here. More than 300 Jewish leaders attended the Federation reception.

The assurances regarding Israel’s security, Mr. Eban said, have come from major Western capitals and is based “not on the fact that the Middle East is any less tense, but because the situation had become so much worse in other places. ” One problem, he said, is the still existing arms race in the Middle East. “We would passionately welcome, ” he said, “any change in international relations that would result in slowing the arms race. Israel will not lose that race. Whatever the burdens, we must meet them.”

The Israeli Foreign Minister linked the situation in the Middle East to general world problems in his address at the university. “The basic threat to international peace, ” he declared in the commencement address, “arises not from the peril of nuclear war, but from the lagging pace of development in most of Africa, Asia and Latin America. The developing nations have attained political independence without a parallel liberation of these peoples from social and economic ills. Men have awakened to learn that they may be free in every institutional sense and yet lose the essence of their freedom in the throes of famine and want.”

At the Federation event, he proposed the formation of a Jewish peace corps of American young people to serve in Israel. He coupled that proposal to a suggestion that Jewish college students in this country do two years of their study in Israel “in an organized manner.”

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