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January 20, 1967 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-01-20

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Purely Commentary

Israel's 'Exasperatingly
Uncomfortable' Position
and Editorial Contrasts

By Philip
Slomovitz

NY Times Editorials: A Study in Contrasts

Half-Hearted Peace Gestures

Israel's defensive position in the Middle East has inspired many
editorials. Some newspapers have gone all out in support of the action
of censure that was taken by the United Nations. There were some
that rationalized and recognized the injustice of rebuking Israel with-
out indicating the provocations that brought about the Es Samu
attack in Jordan.
An interesting contrast will be found in two editorials that ap-
peared in the New York Times in a single week, three weeks after
the Israeli attack on the Jordan village. The two editorials follow:

The tragedy of the Middle East's situation is that the gestures
towards peace are so apparently half-hearted. Officials of our State
Department have made it known that they have urged restraint on
Israel as well as Syria because of the growing fear that the present
conflict may escalate into a major conflagration. While Syrian actions
were termed irresponsible, Israel was advised not to yield to provo-
cations. "Go to the UN," Israel is advised, while infiltrators who are
operating from Syria, Jordan and Lebanon are destroying property,
planting mines that have resulted in the death of Israeli civilians, and
the shootings go on without end.
U Thant has acted quickly and seriously, yet the demands upon
both sides are lacking in the recognition that the attacks stem from
Syria and. that the guilty must be identified without playing a game
that smacks of the type of prejudice which caused Israel to boycott
the Syrian-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission for eight years. There
is an issue involving the demilitarized zone which the Syrians would
convert either into a part of their territory or into a battleground.
What is happening is a test of international sincerity. Either there
will be a pragmatic approach to the issue or there may indeed be
another war.
*
*

THE ARABS AIM AT JORDAN

SYRIA VS. ISRAEL

New York Times, Jan. 6, 1967
Arab militants now say openly
that they give higher priority to
the overthrow of King Hussein
than to the struggle against Israel.
The Palestine Liberation Organiza-
tion (P.L.O.) intends to go under-
ground to "liberate" Jordan prior
to launching commando operations
against the Israelis.
On the record there would be no
need to take over seriously the
threats of Ahmed Shukairy, vitriolic
head of the P. L. 0. What makes the
situation more ominous, hoWever,
is that President Nasser evidently
approves the switch in priorities
and supports the P.L.O. assaults on
a fellow Arab League member. The
P.L.O. radio in Cairo boasts that
Palestine commandos planted the
three bombs that exploded Monday
near Government buildings in the
Jordanian sector of Jerusalem.
President Nasser has often
chastised King Hussin and tried to
pressure him, but has never pre-
viously joined, more or less openly,
in an attempt to eliminate him.
Nasser may have felt challenged
for Arab nationalist leadership by
the left-wing Syrian regime which
for weeks has demanded "a holy
war against the throne of treason"
in Jordan. Egypt's home front pro-
blems and its military failure in
the Yemen may also have contri-
buted to Nasser's shift to militancy
against Hussein.
Israel can take no comfort from
its temporary displacement as the
priority target for Arab terrorism.
The Israelis would confront agoniz-
ing choices if Hussein were sup-
planted by a militant Palestinian
regime, taking its cues from Cairo
or Damascus or, indeed, staking
its own claim for Arab nationalist
leadership.

New York Times, Jan. 9, 1967
Yesterday's sharp new outbreak
of shooting on the Israeli-Syrian
border is a reminder that the main
axis of hostilities for months has
been across that frontier and not
Jordan, which the Israelis unwisely
attacked in November after a ter-
rorist raid.
Egypt, which has normally been
considered by Israel as the chief
potential Arab aggressor, has other
fish to fry nowadays. The war in
Yemen and the planned withdrawal
of British armed forces from South
Arabia next year are consuming
President Nasser's resources and
interest.
The real danger to peace in the
Middle East lies in an escalation of
frontier incidents. In present cir-
cumstances, there is no threat to
the existence of Israel from any
quarter, despite the continued long-
range goal of the Arab states to
destroy it. Syria is a prime mis-
chief-maker—too weak to be a real
threat to Israel but always in a
position to fire off guns, send in
terrorist marauders and broadcast
fiery warnings. Whichever side was
at fault yesterday and whichever
side started the trouble, the fact
is that such hostilities—bad as they
are—do not constitute an immedi-
ate peril to the survival of either
country.
That fact provides a measure of
time—but not much time—for in-
ternational action to sustain peace
before the uneasy neighbors em-
bark on a destructive new series of
punitive retalia-tory expeditions or
bombing raids. Senator Javits, who
sought in vain to interest the State
Department in an international con-
ference that would have included
the Soviet Union, has now turned
to the less ambitious idea of a
meeting of the United States, Bri-
tain. and France to reaffirm their
commitments to preserve peace in
the Middle East. Such a meeting
could be useful, but since Russia
is the major foreign trouble-maker
it could not be definitive.
Israel's position is exasperatingly
uncomfortable. She has a right to
feel bitter disappointment over the
United Nations' inability to help
thus far. But, even so, the Israelis
have most to gain by persisting at
the UN and meanwhile resorting
to measures of military defense.
They are fully capable of protecting
themselves until the great powers
and the United Nations fulfill their
duty of supporting Israel's right to
live in peace and freedom.

It is disturbing that Israeli leaders
continue to defend their retalia-
tory attack of Nov. 13 on the Jor-
danian village of Es Samu and
even argue that it strengthened
King Hussein's position. On their
own testimony, this attack did not
achieve its primary goal; the
Syrians have continued to commit
violence on Israeli territory.
No attack that seemed to demon-
strate the incapacity of Jordan's
army to defend the kingdom could
strengthen the King, The Israelis
should stop talking nonsense and
refrain from any moves that could
further weaken his position.

Is it sufficient merely to concede that "Israel's position is ex-
asperatingly uncomfortable"?
The second editorial, published only three days after the first
expression of rebuke might well have been interpreted as an after-
thought — as a desire to clarify what was undoubtedly a hasty con-
demnation of Israel.
Nevertheless, there is evident a recognition of unjust attacks on
Israel and of the existence of just cause for retaliation. And if there
is such a just cause then_there should have been an acknowledgement
of a fact — that the nests of infiltrators into Egypt were in Es Samu
and that if they were to be wiped out Israel had to go to Jordan
rather than to Syria.
But it is the vacillation of the type incorporated in the earlier
of the two cited editorials and the concessions that are endlessly
made to Arabs who have only one aim: the destruction of Israel,
not the elevation of the standards of the refugees or their settlement
somewhere as a selfsustaining element — it is such an attitude of
appeasement 'that leads to renewed trouble of the type that was
fomented again by the Syrians.
Let it be recorded to the credit of the New York Times that a
third editorial, on Jan. 17, entitled "Israel Reaches a 'Limit'," indicated
that Israel can't be "expected to serve as a handy practice target for
a shaky regime in Damascus." It is to be hoped that the earlier
editorials did not cause added confusion, since an afterthought, like
the third editorial, is more difficult to inplant in minds that are not
susceptible to reason.
Meanwhile there are charges and counter-charges in Arab quar-
ters. King Hussein has been accused of being a collaborator of Israel,
and more recently Nasser was charged with having made a private
agreement with Israel 10 years ago to put an end to Egyptian attacks
on Israel.
The chief struggle in the Middle East is among the Arabs them-
selves, as evidenced by the declaration of the Palestine Liberation
Organization leader, Ahmed Shukairy, that his army is set upon
removing King Hussein from power. Enmity for Israel for a time
assumed a secondary role in the PLO program. It is too much to
ask that this will be the continuing policy, since enmity for Israel
alone is the cement that keeps Arabs together. But • all these facts
are secondary in the picture when newspapers are in the mood of
rebuking Israel. The New York Times' contrasting opinions are indi-
cations of a desire to be fair but of a failure to equate realities. And
the realism of the situation is that Israel must defend herself and
when bandits threaten the state in a certain area they must be up-
rooted, no matter where their headquarters.
There is too much beating around the bush. Let the 'UN and the
U. S. insist that Israel and the Arabs sit together to talk peace. Let
there be a serious effort towards that end and there will be no need
to be cautious as to who is being offended. Dr. Nahum Goldmann
believes peace is possible — soon — in the Middle East. Let's think
similarly and hope that the critics who are so ready to rebuke de-
fenders of their rights will make this part of the general hope for
the peace of the world.

,

2—Friday, January 20, 1967

Norman de Mattos Bentwich : a Distinguished Guest

The visit here of Prof. Norman de Mattos Bentwich draws at-
tention to one of our most distinguished Jewish personalities. A
former attorney general of the British Mandatory Government in
Palestine, his record of service to his country, to Jewry and to world
movements preceded that assignment. His literary record is immense.
His association with the chief architects of the State of Israel made
him one of the best informed Jewish leaders of our time.
Together with his wife, he had labored for Zionism, and because
of his duties to the British government both often faced dilemmas
relative to the discriminatory approaches to the Jewish national
movement by Great Britain. To counteract some of the prejudices
required a great deal of courage — on the part of Dr. Bentwich in
his official capacity and that of Mrs. Bentwich socially — and both
faced up to the challenges nobly.
Although Dr. Bentwich came here to deliver a sermon at Temple
Beth El and a public address under Bnai Brith auspices, it is pri-
marily thanks to the deep interest in Dr. Bentwich's works by Leonard
N. Simons that caused the eminent Detroit advertising 'executive to
inspire the bringing of the British-Jewish leader to Detroit. Simons
hosts the visit of the Bentwiches and he is encouraging a renewed
interst in the writings of the two Bentwiches.
Prof. Bentwich is 84, but he is active, vitally alerted to existing
situations and dynamic even as an octogenarian. Leonard Simons
shares with us this impression of Dr. Bentwich which he received from
Harold Manson, director of the office of academic affairs of American
Friends of the Hebrew University:
"Having spent a good deal of time with him in London a few
months ago, I can attest to his hale and hearty appearance and
manner — quite amazing for a man of his age. To give you a
further indication of his vitality — in London, we had to proceed
from a reception to a meeting at Rex House, which was quite
some distance away. Prof. Bentwich insisted on walking and led
a trek across central London, in the rain. All involved in this
safari, including the president and rector of the Hebrew Uni-
versity, may have been somewhat winded by the fast pace set by
Prof. Bentwich, but he showed no signs of fatigue."
Prof. Bentwich's keen interest in Jewish affairs and in the
spiritual values of Judaism was attested to recently. He became
concerned about the Atonement Day services and in a letter to the
London Jewish Chronicle he expressed the view that the Yom Kippur
prayers need revision. His letter, which was published on Sept. 30,
1966, follows:
Sir,—I spent the eve and the day of Yom Kippur in a syna-
gogue, altogether nine hours of prayer. I was struck, more than
before, by the monotony and repetition — often five times — of
the same liturgy.
It is difficult to maintain real kavana. There has been no
attempt, either in the United Synagogue or in the Reform con-
gregations, to bring in any fresh note. Would it not be well to
examine the possibility of introducing readings from the Talmudic
Agada and from the medieval Hebrew classics and — perhaps
in English translation — from the stories of the Chasidim, which
Buber so effectively interpreted?
The revision of the Yom Kippur prayer-book might be under-
taken by a body of scholars representing both Orthodox and
Reform communities and give the opportunity of bringing the
groups together.
(Professor) NORMAN BENTWICH.
237 Baker Street, N.W.1.
His numerous books are in themselves expressions on so many
matters of Jewish interest that it is not surprising that he should
have chosen also to deal with a spiritual matter.
Detroiters are privileged to have an opportunity to see, hear and
Perhaps also meet these most interesting visitors from England.

The Freedom to Spread Libels and Inanities

There is no freedom like American freedom!
An irrational group functioning as "Let Freedom Ring" radio
broadcasters have been spreading all sorts of nonsense — like the
latest about LSD having been smuggled into this country from the
Weizmann Institute in Israel.
It would be sheer folly to try to sue such a group for libel. What
does one prove other than• the irrationality of the spreaders of hate?
What that group itself does not know is the vast amount of
freedom it enjoys in this free land.
For instance, in previous broadcasts it made charges like these:
"America will soon be in a position of hopeless military inferiority
to the best of Russia because of deliberate disarmament by traitors
in the Johnson administration." . . "Another fact ignored by the
press is that the Communist-linking National Council of Churches is
openly promoting bloodshed through armed revolution by Negroes."
And there was, two years ago, this bit of nonsense over the tapes
made by the "Let Freedom Ring" lunatic fringe:
"At the University of Michigan a plan is being developed for the
systematic house-to-house search of the entire United States for arms
of any kind. The search is to be made by the U. S. Army by blocking
off five states at a time, beginning in the western part of the country.
The entire civilian population is to be disarmed by the end of 1965."
When "freedom rings," as it does so indiscriminatingly, anything
can be expected by the deluded group that has been so thoroughly
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS crazed by hatred.

Israel's
Merchant
Marine

By ELIAHU SALPETER

Chief JTA Correspondent in Israel
(Copyright, 1967, JTA, Inc.)

JERUSALEM — Surrounded by
hostile Arab countries from the
North, the East and the South,
(except for the narrow Akaba
Bay leading to Eilat), Israel's open
frontier to the world is the Medi-
terranean Sea. It is thus natural
that from the very first year of
its existence, the State paid special
attention to the development of the
merchant marine, which would
serve her also in case of a national
emergency, when ships sailing
under foreign flags might not be
available.
Though a considerable number
of her ships have been built in
Dutch, French and Japanese yards,
the major impetus to the ex-
pansion of the fleet came through
the Reparations Agreement with
West Germany. Today, close to
100 modern ships carry freight and
passengers under the Israel flag.
There are several Israel shipping
companies, some privately and
some publicly owned. The largest
is the ZIM, jointly owned by the
government, the Jewish Agency
and the Histadrut.
Not all Israel ships ply routes
touching at Haifa, Ashdod or
Eilat. Several major vessels,
mainly of the smaller privately-
owned companies, are engaged in
"tramp shipping," i.e., carrying
cargoes from wherever they are
available to ports designated by
the shipper. These, by the way,
are the most profitable in busi-
ness today.
Israel has also helped establish
several overseas shipping com-
panies, mainly in newly-indepen-
dent or underdeveloped African
and Asian countries. In some of
them the Israelis sold out their
share to local interests and now
have only operating or manage-
ment contracts, while in others
they have maintained their 49 per
cent ownership.
It is in these two latter cate-
gories — tramping and overseas
companies — that one of Israel
shipping's problems is most acute:
there are not enough Israeli sailors
to man the ships. Of the 3,000
sailors and officers serving on
Israel ships, more then one third
— 1,240, to be exact — are foreign
seaman. While there were almost
enough Israelis (except for the
"unskilled" jobs) to fill the needs
on ships touching on Israel ports
regularly, until recently, it was
very hard to find people ready to
serve on vessels that would keep
them away from home for months
or even a year. Thus, there are to
this day some Israel ships where
only the captain and a few ofifcers
are Israelis, while the rest of the
crew are from Japan, Italy, Hong
Kong or Formosa.
The present recession in Is-
rael, however, is now rapidly
altering this picture. With jobs
harder to find on land, more and
more able-bodied young men
(and some not-so-young former
sailors) are willing to sign up
for duty on far-away routes. In
January, 24 Israeli sailors flew
to Hong Kong to replace the
Chinese seamen serving on the
ZIM's 10,000-ton freighter Beer-
sheba, which is on a regular Far
East-U.S. West Coast run. More
Israeli sailors will follow in
coming weeks and it is hoped
that soon the number of for-
eigners serving on Israel ships
will be cut by as much as 50
percent.
Israeli sailors are considered
among the best, as far as efficiency
is concerned. Most experts agree
that further development of Is-
rael's merchant marine depends
on the availability of qualified
Israeli personnel. Thus, Israel's
domestic recession may yet prove
to be a boon to her shipping.

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