I have had the privilege of representing
Palestine Jewry in this country and in other countries
when the problems that we faced were those of building
more kibbutzim, of bringing in more Jews in spite of
political obstacles and Arab riots.
We always had faith that in the end we would
win, that everything we were doing in the country led
to the independence of the Jewish people and to a
Long before we had dared pronounce that word,
we knew what was in store for us.
Today we have reached a point when the nations
of the world have given us their decision - the
establishment of a Jewish state in a part of Palestine.
Now in Palestine we are fighting to make this
resolution of the United Nations a reality, not because
we wanted to fight. If we had the choice, we would have
chosen peace to build in peace.
We have no
Friends, we have no alternative in Palestine.
The Mufti and his men have declared war upon us. We
have to fight for our lives, for our safety, and for
what we have accomplished in Palestine, and perhaps
above all, we must fight for Jewish honour and Jewish
independence. Without exaggeration, I can tell you that
the Jewish community in Palestine is doing this well.
Many of you have visited Palestine; all of you have
read about our young people and have a notion as to
what our youth is like. I have known this generation
for the last twenty-seven years. I thought I knew them.
I realize now that even I did not.
These young boys and girls, many in their
teens, are bearing the burden of what is happening in
the country with a spirit that no words can describe.
You see these youngsters in open cars-not armoured
cars-in convoys going from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,
knowing that every time they start out from Tel Aviv
or from Jerusalem there are probably Arabs behind the
groves or the hills, waiting to ambush the
These boys and girls have accepted the task of
bringing Jews over these roads in safety as naturally
as though they were going out to their daily work or to
their classes in the university.
We must ask the Jews the world over to see us
as the front line .
All we ask of Jews the world over, and mainly
of the Jews in the United States, is to give us the
possibility of going on with the struggle.
When trouble started, we asked young people
from the age of seventeen to twenty-five who were not
members of Haganah, to volunteer. Up to the day that I
left home on Thursday morning, when the registration of
this age group was still going on, over 20,000 young
men and women had signed up. As of now we have about
9,000 people mobilized in the various parts of the
country. We must triple this number within the next few
We have to maintain these men. No government
sends its soldiers to the front and expects them to
take along from their homes the most elementary
requirements-blankets, bedding, clothing.
A people that is fighting for its very life
knows how to supply the men they send to the front
lines. We too must do the same.
Thirty-five of our boys, unable to go by car
on the road to besieged Kfar Etzion to bring help, set
out by foot through the hills; they knew the road, the
Arab villages on that road, and the danger they would
have to face. Some of the finest youngsters we have in
the country were in that group, and they were all
killed, every one of them. We have a description from
an Arab of how they fought to the end for over seven
hours against hundreds of Arabs According to this Arab,
the last boy killed, with no more ammunition left, died
with a stone in his hand.
We will fight to the
I want to say to you, friends, that the Jewish
community in Palestine is going to fight to the very
end. If we have arms to fight with, we will fight with
those, and if not, we will fight with stones in our
I want you to believe me when I say that I
came on this special mission to the United States today
not to save 700,000 Jews. During the last few years the
Jewish people lost 6,000,000 Jews, and it would be
audacity on our part to worry the Jewish people
throughout the world because a few hundred thousand
more Jews were in danger. That is not the
The issue is that if these 700,000 Jews in
Palestine can remain alive, then the Jewish people as
such is alive and Jewish independence is assured. If
these 700,000 people are killed off, then for many
centuries, we are through with this dream of a Jewish
people and a Jewish homeland.
My friends, we are at war. There is no Jew in
Palestine who does not believe that finally we will be
victorious. That is the spirit of the country. We have
known Arab riots since 1921 and '29 and '36. We know
what happened to the Jews of Europe during this last
war. And every Jew in the country also knows that
within a few months a Jewish state in Palestine will be
We knew that the price we would have to pay
would be the best of our people. There are over 300
killed by now. There will be more. There is no doubt
that there will be more. But there is also no doubt
that the spirit of our young people is such that no
matter how many Arabs invade the country, their
spirit will not falter. However, this valiant spirit
alone cannot face rifles and machine guns. Rifles and
machine guns without spirit are not worth very much,
but spirit without arms can in time be broken with
Much must be prepared now so that we can hold
out. There are unlimited opportunities, but are we
going to get the necessary means? Considering myself
not as a guest, but as one of you, I say that the
question before each one is simply whether the Yishuv,
and the youngsters that are in the front line, will
have to fail because money that should have reached
Palestine today will reach it in a month or two months
Is it possible that time should decide the
issue not because Palestinian Jews are cowards, not
because they are incapable, but merely because they
lack the material means to carry on?
I have come to the United States, and I hope
you will understand me if I say that it is not an easy
matter for any of us to leave home at present-to my
sorrow I am not in the front line. I am not with my
daughter in the Negev or with other sons and daughters
in the trenches. But I have a job to do.
I have come here to try to impress Jews in the
United States with the fact that within a very short
period, a couple of weeks, we must have in cash between
twenty-five and thirty million dollars. In the next two
or three weeks we can establish ourselves. Of that we
are convinced, and you must have faith; we are sure
that we can carry on.
I said before that the Yishuv will give, is
giving of its means. But please remember that even
while shooting is going on, we must carry on so that
our economy remains intact. Our factories must go on.
Our settlements must not be broken up.
We know that this battle
is being waged for those not yet in the
There are 30,000 Jews detained right next door
to Palestine in Cyprus. I believe that within a very
short period, within the next two or three months at
most, these 30,000 will be with us, among them
thousands of infants and young children. We must now
think of preparing means of absorbing them. We know
that within the very near future, hundreds of thousands
more will be coming in. We must see that our economy is
I want you to understand that there is no
despair in the Yishuv. This is true not only of the
young people. I have travelled the road from Tel Aviv
to Jerusalem and other roads quite a bit. I have seen
these dangerous buses filled not only with young
Haganah men and girls, but with old people travelling
the roads as a matter of course.
When you go to Tel Aviv now, you will find the
city full of life; only the shooting that you hear on
the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jaffa reminds one that
the situation in the country is not normal. But it
would be a crime on my part not to describe the
situation to you exactly as it is.
Merely with our ten fingers and merely with
spirit and sacrifice, we cannot carry on this battle,
and the only hinterland that we have is you. The Mufti
has the Arab states-not all so enthusiastic about
helping him but states with government budgets. The
Egyptian government can vote a budget to aid our
antagonists. The Syrian government can do the
We have no Government but we
have millions of Jews in the Diaspora
We have no government. But we have millions of
Jews in the Diaspora, and exactly as we have faith in
our youngsters in Palestine I have faith in Jews in the
United States; I believe that they will realize the
peril of our situation and will do what they have to
I know that we are not asking for something
easy. I myself have sometimes been active in various
campaigns and fund collections, and I know that
collecting at once a sum such as I ask is not
But I have seen our people at home. I have
seen them come from the offices to the clinics when we
called the community to give their blood for a blood
bank to treat the wounded. I have seen them lined up
for hours, waiting so that some of their blood can be
added to this bank.
It is blood plus money that is being given in
I know that many of you would be as anxious as
our people to be on the very front line. I do not doubt
that there are many young people among the Jewish
community in the United States who would do exactly
what our young people are doing in
We are not a better breed; we are not the
best Jews of the Jewish people. It so happened that
we are there and you are here. I am certain that if
you were in Palestine and we were in the United
States, you would be doing what we are doing there,
and you would ask us here to do what you will have to
I want to close with paraphrasing one of the
greatest speeches that was made during the Second World
War-the words of Churchill.
I am not exaggerating
when I say that the Yishuv in Palestine will fight in
the Negev and will fight in Galilee and will fight on
the outskirts of Jerusalem until the very
end. You cannot decide whether we should
fight or not. We will. The Jewish community in
Palestine will raise no white flag for the Mufti.
That decision is taken. Nobody can change it. You can
only decide one thing: whether we shall be victorious
in this fight or whether the Mufti will be
victorious. That decision American Jews can make. It
has to be made quickly within hours, within
And I beg of you-don't be too late. Don't be
bitterly sorry three months from now for what you
failed to do today. The time is now.
I have spoken to you without a grain of
exaggeration. I have not tried to paint the picture in
false colours. It consists of spirit and certainty of
our victory on the one hand, and dire necessity for
carrying on the battle on the other.
I want to thank you again for having given me
the opportunity at a conference that I am certain has a
full agenda to say these few words to you. I leave the
platform without any doubt in my mind or my heart that
the decision that will be taken by American Jewry will
be the same as that which was taken by the Jewish
community in Palestine, so that within a few months
from now we will all be able to participate not only in
the joy of resolving to establish a Jewish state, but
in the joy of laying the cornerstone of the Jewish