By: The Commentator Staff  | 

From the Commie Archives (May 20, 1948; Volume 27, Issue 5) — Yeshiva Rejoices at Birth of Israel; Zionists Applaud Historic Occasion

Editor’s Note: Below is one of two articles published six days after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, which will be celebrated this week on Yom Ha’Atzmaut by YU and the greater Jewish community. 

Garden Filled to Capacity as New York Salutes Israel 

At a giant rally held in Madison Square Garden on Sunday, May 16, representatives of all branches of the Zionist organizations joined together to pay tribute to the new Jewish State. A capacity crowd packed the Garden itself while 75,000 others braved the rain to hear the orators, via loudspeakers, announce their support for the Yishuv’s fight and denounce the arms embargo. 

“What logic and justice decreed, what prophecy foretold,” Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, one of the keynoters of the affair stated, “is now an accomplished fact.” He reminded the defenders of the new state that the one admonition given Joshua was “Have no fear,” and continued confidently: “They will fight and they will win.”

“Confusion” in Palestine 

Dr. Silver said that the Palestinian Arabs had nothing to lose and everything to gain from the initiative, skill, and progress the Jews will bring to the Middle East. However, he emphatically stated that the neighboring Arab states have absolutely no business in Palestine, and warned the Egyptians that the distance between Cairo and Tel Aviv is the same as the distance between Tel Aviv and Cairo. 

He commented on Britain’s refusal to recognize the new Jewish state because of the confusion existing in Palestine by saying, “I only hope that Britain does not add to the confusion.” It is only proper, as continued. “that the oldest democracy in the world was the first to recognize the youngest democracy, the youngest democracy with the oldest people.” However, he argued, “If you believe in a people, you must make it possible for them to defend themselves.” Dr. Silver concluded with a plea that the United States embargo be lifted. 

Miracle of Miracles 

Dr. Stephen S. Wise, speaking in a tear-choked voice, announced that he was happy for two reasons and explained that the second cause for his rejoicing was that, “I am at home again with my fellow Zionists.” Calling the Jewish state a miracle of miracles, he declared that the sons and daughters of Israel could not have fashioned this miracle without Divine aid. He was convinced that, “G-d has not forgotten those who did more than just sit and weep by the rivers of Babylon.”

He then related that Theodore Herzl had said to him several months before his death, “I shall not live to see the Jewish state, but you are younger, Wise, you will live to see the Jewish state.” He concluded by stating that he was overjoyed at seeing this prediction come true. 

Protection Against Aggression 

Senator Taft, speaking for a cause he had long championed, declared, “I never saw how a Jewish state would affect the loyalty of a Jewish-American any more than an Irish state affects the loyalty of an Irish-American.” The Senator concluded, “We must, of course, lift the arms embargo now.” He continued, “We must urge the Security Council to recognize the state of Israel and to give it the same protection given any other state against aggression.” He concluded by notifying the assembled that “the American people have always sympathized with a people fighting for their freedom.” 

Israel In The U.N. 

Mrs. Rose Halpern, president of Hadassah, said that the Jews had a double task, “To fight for defense and to build for the future.” The ambassador to the U.N. from Guatemala, Jorge Garcia - Granados, announced that he will continue the struggle “until I see that Israel has taken the position it deserves in the U.N.” Mayor O’Dwyer, in a statement addressed to President Truman, remarked, “We love you for what you have done, but follow through, lift the arms embargo.” 

Among the other speakers were Herbert Lehman, Henry Morgenthau, Hayim Greenberg, Emanuel Newman, and Rabbi Max Kirschblum.

Photo Caption: The Commentator Archives   

Photo Credit: The Commentator