djc-1951-05-18-0-016May 12, 2016, is Independence Day in Israel. It has been 68 years since the founding of the State of Israel, and there have been 68 years of Independence Day celebrations, not only in Israel, but in Detroit and the United States.

In the William Davidson Digital Archives, I found an interesting story on an early Independence Day celebration — the third anniversary of the founding of Israel — in the May 18, 1951, issue of the Jewish Chronicle.

Officials estimated that 9,500 Metro Detroiters attended an event held at State Fair Coliseum in Detroit. The featured speaker was the Israeli Minister of Labor Golda Meyerson. Some years later, she became known as Golda Meir, prime minister of Israel. The Coliseum was “festively” decorated with American and Israelis flags, and Rabbi B. Benedict Glazer of Temple Beth El introduced Meyerson as “America’s gift to Israel.”

So, on this day, 65 years ago, Meyerson thanked Americans for their contributions, but reminded the audience that, while Israel had achieved political and military independence, in order to survive, it needed a sound economic foundation.

It’s a good bet that Golda Meir would be proud of Israel’s economic growth since she gave that speech in Detroit in 1951. *

By Mike Smith, DJN Foundation Archivist

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at


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