Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

Prime Minister Arik Sharon:
We Pray for Aliyah From the U.S.

by Staff Reporter

Over a thousand guests, among them many Jewish leaders, attended a rally in which Israel's Prime Minister Arik Sharon was the guest speaker. The event, which was sponsored and organized by Ron Lauder, president of the Conference of Presidents, and Gideon Patt, president of Israel Bonds, took place in the Sheraton Hotel in NYC.

Sharon, the guest of honor came with his son Omry Sharon, Alon Pinkas, Consul General, NYC, and Dr. Yehuda Lancry, Israel's permanent representative in the U.N.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani welcomed Sharon as a 'New Yorker' and spoke about his personal love to Sharon and his late wife Lili Sharon. The mayor declared his support for United Jerusalem and presented Sharon with a New York City jacket.

In his address, Sharon outlined the highlights of his policy toward the Arabs and the Palestinians: "My policy is clear and simple," Sharon said: "We will not negotiate while Israeli civilians and soldiers are under fire," he explained. Sharon pointed out that Mr. Arafat is the real obstacle for peace. He also said that President Bush and the Americans understand that Israel is an essential component of the Middle-Eastern regional stability. Sharon revealed that when the issue in Washington D.C. was missile defense Israel can provide help to the U.S.!

President Bush warmly welcomed the new Prime Minister and promised not to force on Israel a 'solution' like ex-president Clinton tried to accomplish. President Bush is not willing to press Israel like his father's administration did. He did not invite Arafat to the White House. Sharon promised to cooperate with President Bush in the near future. This situation also brings a unity between Israel and the American Jewish community. The meeting in the Sheraton turned into an act of solidarity with Israel and Sharon received many standing ovations. It was a change because, in the past, Sharon was not always welcomed by the Jewish establishment and media. Sharon told the guests: "Israel is yours. Jerusalem is yours. We, the Israelis, are only the custodian," Sharon declared. "Your life will not be the same if Israel will be destroyed," he said to explain the holy duty of Jews to help Israel in its daily survival.

Sharon also shared, with the audience, his plan, his vision and set of priorities. He spoke about a strong economy. Then he praised Israel Bond's contribution to the building of Israel's infra-structure. He also praised the president, Gideon Patt, who introduced him as the evening's speaker. Sharon praised Patt's leadership of the Israel Bonds. The Bonds, which was established in 1951, celebrates its 50 year anniversary. Sharon spoke about Zionist education: "It is time to be proud Zionists again," he said. But the most important issue according to Sharon is Aliyah! Sharon understands the issue of demography in this region. He said that immigration is the life of Israel. He expects Aliyah from many countries such as Brazil, France, Russia, but the new idea is Aliyah from this country! Sharon is the only Prime Minister who called for Aliyah from this country. In the past the Prime Minister and even Israeli absorption ministers who addressed the Jews here omitted the issue of Aliyah from the U.S. Only around 3,000 olim go to Israel annually. But many tend to come back.

Sharon always dealt with the issue of Diaspora. He always told Jews that he is first of all a Jew and then an Israeli. Perhaps Sharon will push the demographic issue to the top of the Israeli priorities second to security.


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