MARCH 24, 1955
TEL AVIV, Israel—While I was spending a little time with Mrs. Ben-Zvi last Saturday, her husband, the President of Israel, came in and told us he had been taking his usual lesson in the Talmud, which he did every week on the Sabbath for rest and relaxation.
President Ben-Zvi talked to me at considerable length about his country's problems, not the least of which is the hostility that exists between Israel and her Arab neighbors. He reiterated what has been said so often before, namely, that Israel's representatives are ready to sit down at any time to try to negotiate a peaceful settlement with its neighbors.
There is much genuine sad feeling here over the fact that so many people on both sides of Israel's borders have lost their lives during the past few months. And there was great relief when the report was made to the United Nations Security Council which put the whole picture in a setting that covered more than merely the Gaza incident.
It is impossible to take just one happening into consideration here and to fix the blame, because there are almost daily occurrences. One must go far back and review the whole situation and recognize the long duration of tension before one can understand how any of these incidents occur.
Also, I think one must be here to understand the feeling of the people and to know the variety of the population before one can understand the attitude of the government, which is that it cannot lose the confidence of the people by not giving them protection as far as it possibly can. The government feels that it must keep the people from forming into little bands and carrying on little local wars of their own across the borders. It feels if they all do not stick together it would face the ultimate disintegration of law and order throughout the country.
After lunch with President and Mrs. Ben-Zvi we walked a very short distance to a hostel for working women which is run by the Israel Women's League. This hostel is occupied by girls who have just finished their schooling and who are now training as doctors, technicians, nurses, and lawyers. Some of the girls showed me their rooms with great pride and I also saw their very pleasant dining room and the general living quarters. I liked the staff that is running the center and I am sure the girls, many of whom have no families in Israel, feel that this is a good substitute for the family.
On our way back to my hotel I met Judge and Mrs. Samuel Rosenman and had a pleasant little talk with them. They are having a very interesting trip and are enjoying it, as I knew they would. Any number of Americans have greeted me a number of times here.
And I was most interested—when I ran across from the Hotel King David to go up into the tower of the YMCA building to get the most comprehensive view of the city of Jerusalem that can be seen from anywhere—to learn that it was an American who had given this perfectly delightful building to be used by people of all faiths who would be coming into the city.
(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)