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September 02, 1966 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-09-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Israelis Knesset Holds First Session in New Home

(Continued from Page 1)

Dedicatory ceremonies com-
menced early, with the lighting of
a huge menora atop the new
parliament building on Sunday
night. The menora was brought
Friday to the site where the new
building stands, overlooking the
surrounding Judean hills. Until
now, it had been atop the old
Knesset building in the center of

Mrs. James de Rothschild,
widow of Lord Rothschild, who
had bequeathed almost all of
the 20,000,000 pounds ($6,666,..
666) for the new building, ar-
rived here with other members
of the Rothschild family to take
part in the Tuesday ceremonies,
one of which was the naming of
a street for her late husband.

Visiting dignitaries at the dedi-
cation included Dr. Eugen Gers-
tenmaier, president of the Bunde-
stag, the lower house of the West
German parliament, who was the
spokesman for Germany at the
World Jewish Congress session on
Israel-German relations. Upon his
departure for the Knesset cere-
monies with Mrs. Gerstenmaier,
the German leader voiced the hope
that his contact with Israel govern-
ment officials would help cement
relations between the two coun-
tries. Dr.- Gerstenmaier is the first
German official to visit Israel
since Germany and Israel estab-
lished diplomatic relations. Dr.
Gerstenmaier visited, during his
stay in Israel, with President Zal-
man Shazar, Prime Minister Levi
Eshkol, Speaker of the Knesset
Kadist. Luz and other Israeli
(Upon his departure for Israel
from Bonn, Dr. Gerstenmaier said
be believed the presence of so
many parliamentary leaders from
all over the world at the Knesset
dedication "will serve to raise
Israel's prestige and to raise un-
derstanding between Israel and the
rest of the world, thus underscor-
ing the importance of Israel to
the world." Last week, at a cele-
bration in Bonn in honor of Dr.
Gerstenmaier's 60th birthday, Is-
rael's Ambassador to Germany
Asher Ben-Nathan presented him
with the • Israel government's gold


Bonfires blazed throughout
Israel at dusk Tuesday to mark
the formal inauguration of the
new parliament building.
The ribbon at the entrance of
the massive new building was
cut by Mrs. Rothchild. Chief
Rabbis Isser Yehuda Unterman
and Yitzhak Nissim affixed
mezuzot to the doorposts.

Knesset guards in parade uni-
form were massed on both sides
of the podium as the 44 speakers
and 47 representatives of over-
seas Jewish communities took
seats of honor. Flags of participat-
ing countries were displayed at
the podium. The speakers and the
Jewish leaders were followed by
representatives of the world's old-
est parliament, the Althing of Ice-
land. Then came Mayor Theodore
Kollek of Jerusalem, Dr. Nahum
Goldmann and Mrs. Rothschild.
A flourish of trumpets marked
the arrival of Knesset speaker
Kaddish Luz and Premier Eshkol
as an honor guard presented arms.
President Zalman Shazar then
took his place at the podium.
Premier Eshkol, in his address,
stressed the hardships Israel had
endured, including threats and at-
tacks from its hostile Arab neigh-
bors, the mass immigration and
the problems of integration. - He
said that the Jewish people had at
long last found liberty in Israel,
and also a common Torah, culture
and traditions.
Dr. Nahum Goldmann, speaking
as president of the World Zionist
Organization, welcomed the inau-

guration "in the name of Jewish
organizations and Jewish communi-
ties throughout the world, and the
Zionist organization."
Speaker Luz reviewed the his-
tory of the Zionist movement, the
founding of the first Jewish colony
at Petah Tikvah, the first Zionist
Congress, and the creation of Is-
rael. He mentioned the name of
former Premier David Ben-Gurion
as the man who declared the in-
dependence of Israel, and was
greeted by wide applause. The
speaker also alluded to the ab-
sence of Soviet Jewry "from this
great day not only for Israel but
also for the entire Jewish people."
President Shazar also recalled
"all those not with us on this day,
great former communities of Po-
land and Germany and of all the
other countries whose Jews were
either destroyed or prevented from
The day's activities began when
Knesset Clerk Moshe Rosetti an-
nounced that everything was in
order. A long stream of automo-
biles and buses drove to the hill
on which the building is located.
Among the other dignitaries, in
addition to Dr. Gerstenmaier, were
Dr. Horace Maybray King, Speaker
of the British House of Commons,
and the American Senators and

Speaker Luz presented Mrs.
Rothschild with a parchment
scroll commemorating the -in-
auguration. Former Speaker
Nahum Mir put the torch to a
huge beacon while a chorus sang
"Judah Maccabeus" from Han-
del's oratorio.

The participants made their
way to the dedication scene
through streets which were a for-
est of flags, pennants and emblems.
A massive fleet of - ambulances
and first aid stations were set up
at the building site.
Scores of torchlight parades
were held Monday night as the
inauguration celebration got un-
der way. Representatives of the
foreign parliaments toured Jeru-
salem Monday. They visited Mount
Herzl and Mount Zion and David's
Tomb. Some of the visiting parlia-
mentarians planted trees to com-
memorate the occasion. One of the
first ceremonies was the naming
Monday of one of the city's streets
for James Rothschild in the pres-
ence of Mrs. Rothschild. The visit-
ing Speakers were given a recep-
tion by Foreign Minister Abba
Eban. Aharon Becker, secretary
general of Histadrut, was host at
a reception for the visiting par-
liamentarians at , which Birgir
Finnson, Speaker of the Althing,
expressed the gratification of his
colleagues at "meeting the upper
house of Israel's labor."
The rear of the huge Knesset
building overlooks the Judean
hills and the city. The structure
includes a large assembly hall,
offices, restrooms for the premier
and cabinet members, countless
committee rooms and conference
halls and three restaurants. In con-
trast to most parliament buildings,
the bar in the new Knesset build-
ing is a modest one, with room for
only about a dozen people.
* * *

visiting Speakers were received
by Speaker Luz in the Chagall
Hall of the new building. Each
delegation brought a gift to the
Knesset—paintings, independen-
dence declarations, African
sculptures • and silver lamps—
and each in turn was given a
gold medallion marking the in-

The session received a cable of
congratulations from 44 members
of the parliament of India which
has recognized Israel but never
exchanged diplomatic representa-
tives. The message, signed by rep-
resentatives of several parties, in-
cluding 24 members of the domi-
nant Congress Party, extended
"cordial felicitations and sincere

B-G Mum on Absence

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to the Jewish News)

JERUSALEM — Former Pre-
mier David Ben-Gurion, who did
not attend the inauguration
Tuesday of the new parliamen-
tary building, took his seat
Wednesday in the new Knesset
home and declined to reply to a
question as to why he was ab-
sent from the ceremonies.
Members of his dissident Is-
rael Workers Party (RAFI) said
they did not know why Ben-
Gurion did not attend the event.
It was assumed that he took
offense for not being invited of
kindle the torch at 'the new
Knesset, which might be consid-
ered his due as the oldest mem-
ber of parliament. He also was
not invited to sit with the visit-
ing Israeli dignitaries during the
inauguration despite the fact
that former prime ministers
rank high in the order of prece-
dence in Israel's protocol list.



(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to the Jewish News)

JERUSALEM—Three raps of the
gavel by Speaker Kaddish Luz
marked the beginning Wednesday
of the first working session of
parliament in its new building.
The atmosphere was still in the
spirit of Tuesday's inauguration
festivities which ended with the
formal opening of the new Knesset
building. Delegates of Jewish
communities from 47 countries and
the speakers of foreign parliaments
who came to Israel for the inau-
guration, attended the first ses-


Before the session began, the


good wishes on • the inauguration
of the new Knesset home." The
message also expressed the hope
that Israel's parliament would
"contribute to the development of
parliamentary democracy."
Despite the new surroundings,
debate in the initial session soon
took on the old familiar ring.
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol intro-
duced a bill to regulate the activi-
ties and functions of Israel's cabi-
net. This was one of a number of
"constitutional bills" which Israel
has been gradually adopting over
a number of years.
Menahem Beigin, speaking for
the Herut-Liberal Gahal alignment,
the main opposition faction, sharp-
ly criticized the bill. He said it
incorporated "a number of old
usages and some new regulations
which are bad."
The visiting speakers sat in the
gallery and appeared to be listen-
ing attentively although they did
not understand a word of the pro-
ceedings, which were in Hebrew.
The speaker's opening remarks
continued the biblical vein of the
inauguration speeches. He re-
minded his listeners that the He-
brew month of Elul was the date
when Nehemiah completed the wall
of Jerusalem in the period of the
Second Temple.

speaker's dais is flanked on the left
by seats for Knesset clerks, and
on the right there is a podium for
the Knesset member addressing
the house. Members sit in con-
centric circles, the openings of
which are toward the speaker. The
innermost circle is the govern-
ment bench.
One new feature of the hall is
air conditioning, which was ex-
pected to lead to disappearance of
a familiar sight in the old Knes-
set: members attending sessions
in shirt sleeves.
Premier Eshkol made an urgen
appeal at a meeting attended by
more than 100 representatives
that Western Jews "provide the
human material necessary for the
consolidation of Jewish existence
for which Israel serves as the
cornerstone and firm foundation."
He said that, since Israel's crea-
tion, only about 4,000 Western
Jews had immigrated annually to
Israel, "a figure which causes con-
cern." He declared this was not
"the rate of immigration we stand
to need for the present and fu-
ture, when the fountains of im-
migration of countries from which
most of Israel's immigrants came
dry up."
Aryeh Pincus, chairman of the
Jewish Agency executive, told the
After an hour, the visiting visiting Jewish leaders that there
speakers left for a tour of Je- was a growing tendency toward
rusalem and other functions or-
withdrawal from Judaism, due
ganized for them. The Knesset
mainly to the lack of a strong
session Wednesday was a sym-
Jewish educational force.
bolic one. After referring Esh-
He warned that, for many years,
kol's bill to committee, the ses-
sion was ended, and parliament Israel will not be able to supply
resumed its recess until after other Jewish communities with the
teachers they need. He also de-
the High Holy Days.
dared that world Jewry had a spe-
The sessions hall has been ar- cial duty and responsibility toward
ranged much like the old one. The Soviet Jewry.

6—Friday, September 2, 1966


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