Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Mrs. Meir; Israel Ready to Negotiate Real Peace; Warns Egypt It Will Face Another Defeat if It Attem

December 14, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel’s Premier Golda Meir declared last night that Israel was willing to sit down with her neighbors and arrange for a “secure” and “real peace” in the Middle East and not just sign “a piece of paper.” She told some 2000 persons attending a dinner in her honor under the auspices of the Israel Bond Organization that Israel was willing to reach an agreement on borders “safe for us–any borders will be safe for the Arabs for we shall not attack them-” and “border from which we can defend ourselves with as few casualties as possible if war breaks out.”

Mrs. Meir warned, however, that “if war comes, a heavy defeat faces” Egyptian President Anwar Sadat “in a short time.” She added that “if we work on the assumption that war will come and it doesn’t come, we can live with that.” The Israeli Premier expressed amazement that after all these years “people do not understand us” and “expect us to do the things we cannot do-save the face of those who cannot face the defeats they have suffered in war.”

In the past, Mrs. Meir noted, Israel was told that the former Egyptian President Nasser was frustrated and, therefore, he could not make peace with Israel. “He was not frustrated over his inability to improve the living conditions of the Egyptians,” she said. “No, that did not make him frustrated. He was frustrated the three times he tried to defeat Israel, and the intransigent, stubborn, uncooperative people of Israel would not cooperate.”


Now there is a new man (Sadat) she continued, and people have forgotten 1967. “Now we are asked to save his face because he knows he can start a war but cannot win it.” Mrs. Meir noted that “our friends tell us that we can win any new war. But we don’t want any new war.” Sometimes, she observed, “we worry about our friends-let’s not put it in the plural-one government really. We ask them to sell us arms for defense. When they agree we ask them to help us pay for them. Your government has been very good.”

Praising the work of the Israel Bond Organization for its continuing and tireless efforts to help Israel with large-scale resources for the developments of its economy, Mrs. Meir declared; “We must cut our budget, but how can we choose, where can we cut? Can we tell the Soviet Jews that we want them but have no houses for them? Can we tell the Jew in the ghetto in Arab lands that he will have to stay there? How can we cut our defense budget when Sadat threatens war?”

Before entering the grand ballroom of the Americans Hotel, Mrs. Meir was almost knocked down on the street outside the hotel by some 100 demonstrators protesting against “Israel’s conscription of religious girls to serve in civilian government agencies” and against “indiscriminate mass autopsies.” The 100 persons, part of some 2500 Orthodox Jews and Satmar Chassidim who were demonstrating outside the hotel, broke through police barricades and rushed her police escort. Mrs. Meir’s bodyguards shielded her from the surging group and escorted her into the hotel.

The dinner, attended by communal, civil, religious and business leaders from the New York metropolitan area, gave special impetus to a national effort to sell $50 million in State of Israel bonds this month to bring to $250 million the total proceed for 1971.

Recommended from JTA