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Huge Tel Aviv Demonstration Demands End of Israeli-german Talks

March 26, 1952
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

More than 10,000 persons today participated in a demonstration arranged by the Herut Party against the reparations talks now going on in The Hague between Israel and Germany. By the time the demonstrators dispersed quietly in front of Tel Aviv’s Great Synagogue they had been joined by additional thousands of onlookers.

It was estimated that the line of marchers extended over half a mile, led by several men carrying Torahs and hundreds of women clad in black. No untoward incidents developed and the heavy concentrations of Mapai volunteers and police were not required to “protect” government buildings or the institutions of the Labor Party.

The demonstrators gathered at the “Second of November Square.” At 5 o’clock in the afternoon the shriek of a siren was heard and Israeli flags, draped in black, were hoisted from roofs and windows. Banners carried by the demonstrators declared that “our brothers’ blood cries for revenge.”

The “mourning gathering” was addressed by several Herut leaders, including Menahem Beigin, one-time head of the underground Irgun Zvai Leumi, who called upon the Israel Government to reverse itself and end the reparations talks with the Germans. He pointed out that when Spain exterminated its Jews 550 years ago, the Jews promised never again to touch Spanish soil. But now, he declared, immediately after the Nazi deportations and extermination, Jews are “sitting and negotiating with Germans.”

Calling on Israeli Premier David Ben Gurion, “as Jew to Jew, ” to recall the Israeli delegation from The Hague “in honor of our brothers and murdered parents,” the Herut leader said that only “assimilated” Jewish organizations had agreed to participate in negotiations with the Germans. He declared that American and Argentine Jewries opposed dealing with the Germans.

When Mr. Beigin asked for a show of hands of those in favor of recalling the Israeli delegation from The Hague, his entire audience raised their hands. Turning in the direction of the thousands of police who had gathered on the outskirts of the demonstration, the former underground leader said that he was sure that the police would not attack the rally but added; “We are not afraid of grenades or machine guns.”

Concluding his address, he called for the demonstrators to march away quietly and “let your steps be heard in memory of the steps of millions of our brethren who went to the gas chambers and hanging places. ” After the speech ended, the Israeli hymn “Hatikvah” was sung and the demonstrators marched to the Great Synagogue on Allenby Street. Arriving as darkness fell, the huge crowd which had been joined by onlookers along the line of march and in front of the synagogue, listened to the recitation of the prayer for the dead before dispersing.

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