Finest Hour 191, First Quarter 2021
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Coming in Finest Hour 192: Churchill’s Presidents
WASHINGTON—24 September 1950 [excerpts] My dear Mr. Justice [Felix Frankfurter], I think you may be interested to hear that I have met Mr. Winston Churchill. He was good enough to invite me to call on him on September 14th….Accordingly I went to his flat in Hyde Park Gate, where I found him in bed; the hour was 12:30 p.m., and he had evidently been at work for books and papers were all about him. Mr. Churchill, who was smoking his customary large cigar, received me with the utmost cordiality, saying that he always saw his friends in bed; he offered me a whisky and himself drank to the success of Israel.
Mr. Churchill spoke with great admiration of our President [Chaim Weizmann], saying that Providence had blessed Israel by giving us one of the few great men of our time as leader and guide, a role for which he was eminently fitted by his statesmanship and scientific attainments.
The setting-up of our State, he said, ranked as a great event in the history of mankind, and he was proud of his own contribution towards it. He had himself been a Zionist all his life. He had been afraid at a certain time that all Britain had done for the National Home would be forgotten, but now there was no reason why Israel should not recognize that Britain was her best friend, and act accordingly. Romantic realists that they were, the British admired the determination and courage which gained Israel her independence, and fully understood the historical significance of the Jewish nation’s rebirth.
Mr. Churchill was movingly eloquent on the sufferings of the Jews throughout history, as a persecuted people and the faithful guardians of the Biblical heritage. The free Jewish nation, he declared, must preserve close association with the Book; Israel must guard the people’s spiritual and moral inheritance.—Eliahu Elath, first Israeli ambassador to the United States.