DECEMBER 30, 1948
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—On Tuesday night I attended a very beautiful concert given under the auspices of the Junior Division of the United Jewish Appeal. The music was beautiful, and the audience was enthusiastic in its response to the artists' performance.
Underlying the gaiety, however, there was a sense of the serious purpose for which this musicale was given. The United Jewish Appeal has made many things possible, but naturally its value is most keenly felt in the new State of Israel. So much depends in this new nation on the help that comes through this fund, which is raised largely among the Jewish community in the United States but which also receives contributions from many other Americans who feel sympathy and interest in the difficulties that face the establishment of any new nation.
There are, of course, many points of view about the State of Israel. The Arab nations feel that they do not want to cede this territory to the Jews and, while they were quite willing to accept the Jews who came there and have them consider the area as a national home, they now feel that this never was meant to be a national state. The British, who had the mandate over the area from the League of Nations and finally gave it up because it was more than they could well handle, do not wish to do anything that would create difficulty between them and the Arab citizens in various parts of the world.
The Jewish leaders of Israel feel that a Jewish state was envisioned from the time of the Balfour Declaration on Nov. 2, 1917, and their first negotiations and agreements with the Arab Leaders. The Balfour Declaration expressed Britain's blessing on the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. And the Jews regarded this as a mandate created to make it possible for them to reach a point where they could govern themselves. That point, they consider, has been reached, and now they feel they are entitled to be a nation.
The Jews are willing to take long-suffering refugees from all parts of Europe who wish to leave the area where they have been unhappy, but in order to do this they must have sufficient land to settle them on. The land seems unpromising now, but they have discovered that through hard work they can develop it and make it productive.
The older settlers in Palestine have lived through incredible hardships, but they are willing to live through them again to help the newer settlers. Their chief hope is that life can be made easier for the new immigrants more quickly than was possible for them in the days that are past.
Young and old in Israel have an extraordinary spirit. And it is not only the spirit that fights for what they feel is essential to the life of the nation, but a spirit that works to accomplish the ends of a peaceful state. It would seem impossible not to achieve miracles when you talk to those who are daily achieving them, and one can only hope that the wisdom of the statesmen of the world may bring about peaceful settlements in this area.
The money raised in this country will alleviate the sufferings of many people who have borne more than human beings should be asked to bear. We hope it will establish men, women and children in a peaceful state of Israel.