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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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JERUSALEM —From my window here in the new wing of the King David Hotel I look over some gardens that are just beginning to blossom and over to the old part of Jerusalem.

As a city, Jerusalem has great charm. The Old City (Israel) and the New City (Jordan) seem completely in harmony. Much of the new architecture here is very beautiful. We made a short visit to the new Hadassah Hospital where I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. J.J. Groen of Amsterdam, a friend of my son-in-law, Dr. James Halsted. Dr. Groen, who now works here, is planning to come to New York via the Far East and San Francisco in April.

Of course, I could only have a glimpse of what will in the future be a much larger institution than it is at present. I did pay a short visit to the nursing school where, fortunately for them, they have more applicants than they had expected. This should eventually remedy their problem of the nursing shortage that now exists.

We also went through the day clinic where hundreds of people seemed to be waiting in different sections for treatment. We saw the babies' ward, and this gave me an opportunity to grasp one of the most novel features of this structure. The hospital is built, in part, in a circular manner which allows a balcony to be run the entire way around. When the sun is not pouring in one side it's pouring in on the other.

Then we visited a small and lovely synagogue, which eventually will be decorated by Chagall windows. One little shaft of light was coming through the protective board that now covers the windows on the outside, and just that one shaft brought out the beautiful coloring and made one realize vividly what an extraordinary effect all of these windows will have in the future.

I also have seen the International Cultural Youth Center, built by the Youth Aliyah as a place where all the young people of Israel can come to get the feeling of how the youth of the rest of the world lives and feels.

At this center they make it a point to have exhibitions from different parts of the world, and at the moment they have brought in the UNESCO exhibition on Japan. When it is ready it will give a very comprehensive idea of a Japanese house and various Japanese occupations, their decorations, their textiles and, finally, a very nice collection of Japanese art.

Several people came in while I was there at Mr. Moshe Kol's invitation for a short reception, and I was interested to meet many of those who are working in various fields to make a success of the Israeli government, social and cultural influence.

I was particularly interested in talking for a few minutes with the attorney general who was the prosecutor at the Eichmann trial. He told me it had been one of the most difficult things he had ever gone through but that the evidence had built itself through the stories of the numerous people who came to testify.

Israel still has the difficult problem of deciding on Eichmann's punishment, and you can be sure that this decision is not being taken lightly. Those who will be responsible for it are going through much soul-searching and trying to weigh all the factors that might enter a decision of this kind.

Here we also had a short but interesting visit with President and Mrs. Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. Mrs. Ben-Zvi urged us again to try to get more young Americans to come over to see what is happening and to help build Israel.

It must be difficult for the President whose whole thoughts are centered on the opportunity for peace in this area to see time go by with no real signs of peaceful solutions to the difficulties between Israel and the Arab states. He feels strongly about the contribution Israel could make to the well-being of the whole Near East area if only Egypt could be induced to give up its dream of driving the Israelis off the map and controlling the Near East by making it an Egyptian dependency or a confederation.

As you see the extreme activity and growth in Israel you wonder whether the dream that keeps the Arab nations ignoring the fact of Israel's existence isn't an unfortunate dream for them as well as a great difficulty for Israel.


(Copyright, 1962, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Jerusalem (Israel) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 2, 1962

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.