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Weizmann Park Opened; Ben Gurion Likens Weizmann to Kings of Old

November 2, 1953
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“Weizmann’s place in Jewish history is alongside the great rulers and kings of old and as the foremost architect of our sovereign statehood in these times,” Premier David Ben Gurion told several thousand persons who gathered at the grave of Israel’s first President to mark the formal opening of Yad Weizmann, the Weizmann memorial park which will include his home at Rehovoth, the grounds of the Weizmann Institute of Science and his tomb and a specially built archive to house his papers.

The Premier’s audience included members of the Weizmann family, virtually every Jewish leader from abroad who attended the Jerusalem economic conference which closed last week, Jewish personalities connected with the Weizmann Institute, representatives from every city, town, village and settlement in Israel, and educators, scholars and scientists from this country and abroad–Jewish and non-Jewish. Also in the audience were, members of the diplomatic corps and Arab and Christian notables. Before his address, the Premier, members of the Cabinet and of the Knesset joined Mrs. Vera Weizmann in laying a wreath on the grave.

The Premier declared that Dr. Weizmann,during his working lifetime, had discerned a “triple reality”–the reality of the land, the reality of the Jewish people and the reality of the international scene with all its complications. Mr. Ben Gurion recalled that it had been Dr. Weizmann–“the only practical man among all the Zionist leaders”–who, when Hitler came to power, had demanded that the gates of Palestine be opened to European Jews. He also spoke of the “political tragedy” which occurred to Dr. Weizmann when Britain, in whom he had had deep faith, reversed itself on its promise to help the Jews build a homeland.

Analyzing the differences between Theodor Herzl, founder of modern Zionism, and Dr. Weizmann, Mr. Ben Gurion declared that the former served his people during the abstract phase of Zionism, while the latter was a seer and a man of action, thus being forced to grapple with all the obstacles which face a man of action. The “historic providence” of the Jewish people rewarded Dr. Weizmann, the Premier said, because he was privileged to see the fruits of his life of toil: the state.

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