Begin Issues Call to World Jewry
"Begin Issues Call to World Jewry" message by Menachem Begin
JH 34 6/09/77 P. 4, 5
IN HIS Rosh Hashanah message to world Jewry, the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Menachem Begin, has issued a call for aliyah, for redoubled aid for housing underprivileged Israelis, to make Hebrew a living language o the Diaspora, and for unity in the face of the grave challenges on the diplomatic front.
This is Mr. Begin's message:
From Jerusalem, our eternal Capital, I extend my heartfelt greetings to my fellow Jews the world over on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah, 5738.
This new year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Independence of Israel. The soulsearching, which we, as individual Jews and as a people, are traditionally commanded to perform with the coming of each new year, requires of us not only to mark the achievements along our path to national redemption, but also the obstacles and—yes—our weaknesses.
Of the some twelve million Jews around the world—which is the approximate size of our people—no more than one-quarter has ingathered into our reborn Homeland. This good land cries out for our return to Zion, from east and west. The majority of our brethren in the Soviet Union are deprived of this right. It is incumbent, therefore, on the Jews of the free world to renew and intensify the human struggle for the right of repatriation to Zion of our fellow Jews in the Soviet Union—and in Syria—who seek to reach Zion and freedom. We must act together, vigorously and visibly on their behalf.
In the democratic countries our Jewish brethren are able to embark on Aliyah of their own free will. I call upon them today, in this Jewish season of recommitment. I call particularly upon our younger generation—Arise and come, build up the land—for your sakes and ours—and for the sake of the coming generations.
There exists a further challenge:--Here, is our small Jewish Homeland, there prevails a problem of poverty that is intolerable to a nation which, from the time it emerged onto the stage of history, was commanded: "Thou shalt pursue Justice." I speak of the lot of 45,000 families in Israel who live in housing conditions that are insufferable to us, as a Jewish society.
My appeal, therefore is directed to my fellow Jews in the Diaspora who have given so magnificently over the years—the U.J.A. and the Keren Hayesod and for the purchase of Israel Bonds. I ask of them on the occasion of Israel's Thirtieth Anniversary to double, this year, their contributions and purchases. The extra sums will be totally earmarked for the construction of decent new houses for the tens of thousands of families in Israel living in distressful conditions. It is my prayer that this appeal will meet with an affirmative response.
Let each fellow Jew—once in 30 years—double his contribution for the upbuilding of our land, thereby providing the necessary funds to liberate our Nation, once and for all, from poverty, and eradicate its scourge from within our society to whom liberty and social justice are supreme Jewish values.
The study of Hebrew as the second spoken language throughout the communities of the Diaspora, is the third challenge of our generation.
I call upon my fellow Jews to do all in their power to ensure that their daughters and sons not only study the language of our ancient-reborn culture but also to speak Hebrew as a living language of daily communication. Hebrew is the key to a profounder understanding of our Jewish heritage, our sources, our history, our life.
To give to your children this knowledge is to rescue them from an assimilation that is eroding and eating away at our fine youth, leading them to estrangement, so that each year—thousands and tens of thousands simply vanish. In order to preserve and protect the Jewish image—and self image—of our youth we are duty-bound to work to deepen their attachment to Judaism and its heritage in all its greatness and sanctity.
And finally, we the Jewish people, are in the throes of an historic struggle for the just cause of Eretz Israel. In the final analysis, this is a struggle to guarantee the lives, the security, the liberty and the peace of our children and grandchildren.
Let us stand together, the whole Jewish people—in the Homeland and throughout the Diaspora—as a wall of fortitude around the Land of our Fathers. In unity, we shall prevail.
Let us pray that this be a year that will bring peace to all people. A year that will bring peace to our own region, for this is our deepest aspiration and warning.
May God bestow His blessings upon the whole house of Israel. From the heart we utter repetition to the Almighty. On [word cut], the Eve of Rosh Hashanah, 5738, let the tribulations of the [word cut] be banished. Bring in a year that will be one of blessings and [word cut] peace.