2 Friday, March 23, 1919
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
These Are the Blessed Days of Peace Proclaimed
by the Sages as Blessings For All Mankind
Shalom Universally Acclaimed
The message to the world is from Isaiah (32:17):
The work of righteousness shall be peace.
Shalom has become more than a salutation. Heralding peace, it is the universal term
for amity among nations. And the message of good will also is recorded in Isaiah (52:7):
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings, that
These are the timely messages and the admonition to the peacemakers is expressed
in Ezekiel (37:26):
I will make a covenant of peace with them — it shall be an everlasting covenant with
Need more be said about the great days this generation is treated to?
Peace may yet be the universal blessing and Shalom is humanity's salutation.
Blessed the days of peace!
Iran: Another Indictment
of Indifference and Lack of Vision
People learn the hard way. Some people never learn.
Nations often get the signal to protect their dignity a bit too
late to benefit from it.
Many are the lessons of history that have proven
tragic. Some led to massacres and wars.
There was plenty of time for the Jewries of Russia,
Poland, Germany, Romania and other areas to heed the
warnings of the 1930s. Hundreds of thousands of lives could
have been saved. They weren't. Jews are loyalists to the
lands of their birth and they always retain faith that all
will be well for them and their fellow citizens of all other
faiths. Recorded history provides the answers to overconfi-
Another lesson came in this era of turmoil and uncer-
tainty for the peoples of many lands. In Iran, the Persia of
ancient times, there were admonitions which were either
ignored, or were listened to with indifference, or resulted in
a lack of vision by those affected. Perhaps all these ele-
ments came into play.
Facts, which are on the record, now are receiving new
emphases. It is established that Iranian Jews were warned
of an impending danger, that Israel invited them, that in
hours of despair there was the frantic appeal, "If you can-
not come, send your children!"
Here are some of the basic revelations that are now a
part of the record of efforts made to rescue and protect
Mordechai Ben-Porat, a
member of the Knesset and
the head of the World
Organization of Jews from
Arab Countries, had gone to
Iran on ,a secret mission of
rescue. Had it been known
that he was there his life
would have been worthless.
Now Porat reports that
50,000 of the 80,000 Iranian
Jews remain in their native
MORDECHAI BEN PORAT land, that of the 20,000 who
left Iran about 7,000 came
The Jewish Agency and the Zionist leaders are being
praised for their efforts to encourage emigration of Iranian
Jews for settlement in Israel. It is known that an Israeli
envoy in Iran had warned the CIA, on a visit in Washing-
ton, as early as last September; of the trouble that was
brewing and the dangers ahead. Was this another in-
stance of U.S. official blindness to an impending tragic
development affecting American interests?
Then there is a past to be
remembered. Israel had es-
tablished a deep friendship
with Iran. The background
of it is in one degree related
by Arie Lova Eliav, pre-
sently a visiting fellow at
Harvard Center for Inter-
national Affairs, former
Deputy Minister in the Is-
Eliav served his govern-
ment in Russia, was an
active Labor member of the
Knesset, is among the most
consistent advocates of peace and the extremist concessions
to the Arabs in the interest of peace. In a letter to the New
York Times, March 1, Eliav told of the genesis of Israel's
official entrance on the scene as a leader in providing aid for
the Iranians in a time of crisis and the friendly relations
that developed therefrom:
Jews are by now accustomed to being made the
scapegoat in times of revolution. The upheaval in
Iran appears, sadly, to be no exception. From the
fiery declarations of Iranian revolutionaries one
could conclude that behind each of the Shah's
schemes to oppress the toiling masses stood the
Having headed the largest development project
undertaken by Israel in Iran, I would like to speak
of the real Israeli involvement in that country.
In September of 1962 an earthquake struck the
Ghazvin area in northwest Iran. Three hundred
villages were destroyed, and 20,000 villagers died.
The Iranian Minister of Agriculture turned to the
government of Israel — which had been dispatch-
ing agriculture experts to Iran since the mid-
1950's — for help in restoring the area.
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion asked me to
organize and lead the Israeli team of geologists,
engineers, hydrologists, agronomists, food spe-
cialists, architects, economists and sociologists.
We settled in the heart of the stricken area, where
we labored for many months.
We had been warned not to display the Israeli
flag, but we ignored such warnings. We met with
no hostility. Instead, we established excellent re-
lations with the local mullahs, who saw the wells
we dug and the model villages we designed.
After a yeaf-and-a-half, we presented to the
Iranian government a comprehensive plan for the
restoration and development of the Ghazvin area.
The plan was revolutionary:
In place of subsistence agriculture controlled
by absentee landlords, we proposed sweeping
agrarian reforms. We recommended an improved
system of crop rotation and the planting of new
crops, such as cotton and sugar beets; the intro-
duction of agricultural industry; new and more
effective systems of irrigation and land utiliza-
tion; programs for the extension of credit for the
purchase of seeds and fertilizers; more advanced
techniques for the marketing of crops, and the
establishment of agricultural cooperatives.
Having put these proposals before the Iranian
government, we then defended them before the
World Bank, which furnished the funds for their
implementation. The Ghazvin region is now one of
the most modern and fertile regions on the Ira-
But this was only the most extensive of many
such Israeli missions. Israeli experts helped to
modernize the dairy and poultry industries of
Iran. They improved veterinary procedures and
introduced better insecticides. In the field of
health care, the Israeli contribution has been par-
ticularly notable, and Iranian patients who re-
quired special treatment were welcomed to Is-
raeli hospitals. Thousands of hanians have been
trained in Israel's fields and universities.
When I arrived with my team at the rubble of
Ghazvin I did not think for a moment that we had
come to help a government. We came to help a
suffering population. Our work was humanita-
rian, not political, and we worked hard. The
friendship of the villagers and the improvement
of their lot were our rewards.
Israel has no desire to bear the "white man's
burden" in the Middle East. It wishes to live in
that part of the world, to aid and be aided by it. I
am confident that when Israel and its neighbors
reach a settlement, when the problem of the
Palestinians is solved, such relations will become
In these still-troubled days, I remember my
many friends in Iran and wish them and all the
Iranian people a swift and painless road to social
reconstruction, economic prosperity and peace.
One might well say about Israel's many services to
Iran, "To what avail?" Haven't those been the experiences
of Israel in African countries which turned against the
Jewish state, in spite of established friendships, under
duress from Third World authoritarians?
That's Israel's fate. Insofar as the sufferers from the
menacing situations in the world are concerned, hope per-
sists that the lessons of time will inspire greater vision on
the part of those threatened with their very lives.
Dayan as the Intermediary
Preventing Collapse of Peace
Menahem Begin was one of the three giants who
engineered the Israel-Egypt peace agreement. He,
President Carter and President Sadat had their able assist-
ing -staffs. Begin is blessed with the military genius of
Moshe Dayan who has emerged also, in his capacity as his
country's foreign minister, as a brilliant diplomat and tac-
The story is now well known. - The peace was about to
collapse on Monday evening, March 12. That's when Moshe
Dayan called U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and
suggested resorting to "another chance."
He was not alone in this frantic move to save the peace.
He was induced to undertake it by the Israel Ambassador to
the U.S. Ephraim Evron. The envoy, who now is playing an
important diplomatic role in this country for Israel, was
told, on that fatal night by Zbigniew Brzezinski: "I don't
think the (Israel) Cabinet wants an agreement." That's
when Evron went into action, communicating with Dayan,
and the latter, with Begin's approval, called Vance and the
continuing negotiations resulted in the agreement that
leads to peace.
History won't forget the personalities who had great
roles in peacemaking. Dayan and Evron are among them.
Addendum: About Lay Leaders
of Conference of Presidents
Paul Zuckerman, as well as the present chairman of
the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish
Organizations, Theodore Mann, provide a correction to an
item in last week's Commentary. Contrary to forgetfulness,
there were laymen other than Ted Mann who served as
chairman of the Conference of Presidents. They started
with Dr. Nahum Goldmann and included Phil Klutznick,
William Wexler and Jacob Stein.
There is an old truism that the hour of need produces
the leadership needed to face up to the issues that may
affect the people's needs. Rabbis or laymen, the leadership
that now will be needed in hours of recurring crises will be
charged with serious duties to assure justice for the targets
from the venomous.