My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK—Last Thursday evening in Tel Aviv I met with some 40 women representing the Council of Women's Organizations under the chairmanship of Mrs. B. Idelson, who is in charge of women's activities in the Histadruth. The Histadruth is the Federation of Labor, which includes all organized labor in Israel.

I was anxious to meet with this group of women because they represent the organized women of Israel as a whole. They were able to tell me of their efforts in this council to prevent duplication and to integrate all the women coming into Israel. They realize, of course, that there is a tremendous amount of education to be done, but they are making every effort to bring the change about as quickly as possible.

On Friday morning we left before eight o'clock and, again guided by Mrs. Moshe Dayan, visited a nearby village. At this settlement silver work, basket-weaving and embroidery are organized for the benefit of persons who are in some way handicapped. One man we saw at work was deaf and dumb and another man could not walk. The work they do is excellent, however, and I am sure it helps everyone of the workers to feel that they are able to contribute to the upkeep of their families.

From this settlement we visited a children's village, which I had seen on my previous trip to Israel. This particular undertaking is run by the Mizrachi, or religious women, of the United States, and is named for Bessie Gotsfeld. There are now 300 children at the settlement, whereas there had been less than 200 when I was last there. And they are ready to accept 50 more youngsters.

The children get training in machine-shop work, in carpentry, in weaving, and in agriculture. The school in the area is operated under the supervision of the various government departments. All the youngsters work four hours a day and the older children study for six hours. This makes a long day for some of them, but they all get along well and look healthy.

From the children's village we went to the Federation of Labor Building and had a talk with the director-general and also met the executive committee.

I was particularly interested to learn that election of delegates to the labor convention is held on a nationwide basis. This convention chooses the board that runs the Federation. I also learned that the wife of a member of the Federation, through her husband's membership, has the right to vote in the general elections for the board. Because she does not belong to a union, however, she cannot vote in the elections of any special union. This right to vote in the general elections, though, gives the women a greater sense of participation in the work of the Federation, and Mrs. Idelson told me that their biggest group is the Housewives League.

We lunched with Mrs. Goldie Myerson, the Minister of Labor, and after lunch I went directly to get a quick look at Dr. Sheba's hospital. Then with the mayor of Tel Aviv, Mr. Levanon, and his wife, we toured both Tel Aviv and Jaffa.

We ended the day by dining with the mayor and his wife, which was extremely kind of them, for the Sabbath eve meal is nearly always a family meal. Therefore, we were particularly appreciative of their hospitality.

E.R.

(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

TMs, AERP, FDRL