Large audience for Israel talk
“Israel holds out the hand of friendship to all who will accept” , said Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, MP for Finchley and Friern Barnet, speaking on her recent eight day visit to Israel, at St. Luke's Church Hall, Mountfield Road, on Thursday last week.
A large and appreciative audience watched two Israeli films, “Building a Future” and “Four-day March” , prior to Mrs. Thatcher's talk. The event was arranged under the auspices of the Anglo Israel Friendship League of Finchley, the first association of its kind to be formed in the country.
Mrs. Thatcher was accompanied by her husband, Mr. Denis Thatcher. Mrs. Queenie Weber (chairman) introduced Mrs. Thatcher, who is president of the league.
Giving a summary of her tour schedule, Mrs. Thatcher said she had been thrilled with the country, and with the people. “It is the people who make a country” , she said, “I was impressed by their sense of purpose and complete dedication, their pioneer spirit, and their realism. “One of the visits which touched her the most, was her visit to the memorial to the courage of the Jewish people who lost their lives under Nazi rule in Germany.
“They don't pay people for being idle in Israel” , said the speaker. “The few who are unemployed are set to work five hours a day on government projects. Perhaps that was why in Israel there was a comparatively small amount of juvenile delinquency, and the rate of crime was very low. Housing was on an economical basis; there were few large houses, but living units were compact and sufficient.”
Mrs. Thatcher referred to the friendliness and hospitality with which she had been received, from ministers of the Knesset (Israel Parliament), from the Jewish Agency, and from the people. The Holy Sites were something she would always remember, as was her tour of Eliat, where the writings of the Old Testament had been proved. Mr. A. W. King (Headmaster, Woodhouse Grammar School) proposed a vote of thanks to Mrs. Thatcher, saying the audience had been enthralled by her word portraiture of her visit.
On behalf of the Anglo-Israel Friendship League of Finchley, Mrs. Weber presented Mrs. Thatcher with a miniature menorah, an eight-branched candelabrum symbolic of the Jewish Festival of Lights. [end p1]
(2) Finchley Times, 2 July 1965
What I saw in Israel
A Menorah—a Jewish religious emblem—was presented to Finchley's M.P. Mrs. Margaret Thatcher last week to mark her return from a seven-day official visit to Israel.
The presentation was made by Mrs. Queenie Weber, chairman of the Anglo-Israel Friendship League of Finchley.
Earlier in the evening Mrs. Thatcher addressed members of the League, giving her impressions of Israel.
Mrs. Thatcher's trip was sponsored by the Anglo-Israel League.
On arrival at Lod Airport, she was taken to Jerusalem where she was met by representatives of the Israeli Government.
“There I was able to see a divided city,” she told her audience, “Half of the city,” she explained, “was Israel and the other half was in Jordanian hands. In places the border was just like a garden fence and it was difficult to accept that on the other side of a section of wire fencing was another country.”
She added: “It was like having another country on the other side of your own garden wall at home.”
Throughout her tour, Mrs. Thatcher was able to compare the ancient and the new. She visited many of the Holy sites in Nazareth. “I stood on the shores of the Sea of Galilee,” she recalled.
Mrs. Thatcher said that she was deeply impressed by the sense of realism among the Israeli people. “They have a job which has got to be done, and they are getting on with it.”
New towns and developments are shooting up everywhere and unemployment does not exist.
An Israel Labour Exchange official had told her that the Government did not pay a man to be idle. Continued Mrs. Thatcher: “If a man is out of work, he is put on a Government project.”
Housing, Mrs. Thatcher said was modest and even the British Ambassador's home was small. “Property is expensive.” she said, “Flats in certain cities would cost as much as £10,000. Deposits must be at least two thirds and interests rates are as much as 20 per cent.”
Mrs. Thatcher also visited the copper mines in the south of Israel where the temperature exceeded 110 degrees. She also saw the open canal of the national water carrier at Acre.
During her tour Mrs. Thatcher was surprised to meet a former Finchley councillor and another local family. She met, also, two former undergraduates whom she had known while at Oxford.