MARCH 23, 1955
TEL AVIV, Israel —Our arrival in Jerusalem last Friday evening was rather late and the Sabbath was about to begin. There are many things that cannot be done here on the Sabbath. One is that only gentiles can drive cars, and to send a cable or a telegram is almost an impossibility.
We had been invited to dine with Chief Rabbi and Mrs. I. Herzog at their residence and we were called for by the American consul, Mr. Cole and his wife so that we could drive up to the door because we weren't Jewish. Some Jews from foreign countries tell me that they occasionally drive a car here but they don't say anything about it and do so only when necessary.
Before dinner the lights went out because of a temporary cut off of the electricity and candles could not be lighted on the Sabbath in the room where we were dining!
On Saturday, which is the Sabbath, we went early in the morning to Professor Mazar's home. He is the rector of the Hebrew university which is presently scattered in buildings all over the new city of Jerusalem. We met a number of the members of the faculty of the university and had interesting talks on their difficulties and importance of education in the integration of peoples from so many lands.
Later in the morning I went to see Minister of Finance Eshkol. He told me one interesting point that I think should be stressed, namely, that Israel, out of its own taxes, is covering government services such as education, security, health, etc., but the money which comes in from other sources must be used for development projects and resettlement of the people. They are very proud that the receiving barracks are gradually being eliminated and houses are being built. It's a tremendous undertaking, so all of it is not being done by the government. The labor federations have built some housing and, of course, there is a considerable amount of private building.
After my talk with the finance minister we went over to see Mrs. Ben-Zvi, wife of the President. She is a charming, very simple, very friendly middle-aged woman with a passion for nature and for Israel. The house she lives in is filled with flowers which she has grown herself and her collections are collections of sea shells, minerals, stones, etc.
She kept telling me that she wanted me to tell the Jewish people in the United States that they must come to Israel. I took it for granted that she wanted them to come and visit, but I found that she meant they should come and stay here. This seems to me a little more than I can ask, for we don't want to give up our American citizens. But I do think there could be a far greater exchange of visitors and Israel would welcome more people who would want to come to work for one or two years on some special project. Because of her load of immigration, the country could use a considerable number of people with some industrial know-how.
(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
- [ index ] Tel Aviv (Israel)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 23, 1955
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
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