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Israel Speaks for Israelis Only, Ben Gurion Assures A.J.C. Delegation

June 26, 1957
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

While Israel is open to all Jews who desire or need to come to live in Israel, it has been emphasized on numerous occasions that Israel represents and speaks on behalf of its own citizens and in no way represents or speaks for Jews in other countries, Premier David Ben Gurion today told an American Jewish Committee delegation which had just completed a week-long tour of the Jewish State.

Committee sources disclosed that Mr. Ben Gurion indicated to them that upon the completion of the delegation’s mission a statement to this effect would be issued officially. The delegation, headed by AJC president Irving Engel and executive vice president John Slawson, met twice with Mr. Ben Gurion and with a number of Jewish and Arab cultural leaders.

The Ben Gurion statement was elicited in connection with one of the three major objectives of the delegation: clarification of the relationship of American Jews to Israel. Another point raised by the AJC unit was the status of the Arab minority in Israel and the extent of Israel’s readiness to participate in a solution of the Arab refugee problem. The impression gained here is that the delegation understood that moving toward a solution is the primary responsibility of the Arab countries.

A third point of discussion was the status of Reform Judaism in Israel. The Premier reiterated that if Jews inside Israel want to establish Reform congregations they will not be hindered.

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