JERUSALEM -- The missiles that have hit Israel were more devastating than she expected, but Shoshana Cardin said she and other American Jewish leaders ended a visit here heartened by the resilience of Israelis.
The three-day tour by 51 officers of Jewish organizations was "a very moving visit," she said as the group prepared to return to the United States yesterday.
"It was very important for us to come, to express our solidarity and to see for ourselves exactly what the trauma and the situation was."
They are part of a succession of Jewish celebrities, politicians and opinion leaders who have flown to Israel to demonstrate their commitment to the Jewish state.
The group chaired by Mrs. Cardin, the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations, was met by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, President Chaim Herzog, at least three Cabinet ministers, and various other officials.
They were given a tour of the Patriot defensive missile system manned by Israeli and American crews, and of sites where missiles have landed.
"I did not expect it would be as complete and painful as it was," Mrs. Cardin said of the missile damage. "We are talking about hundreds and hundreds of people that have been dislocated and don't have a place to live."
She also said she was moved by the sight of infants in plastic-sheltered cribs to protect them from a possible chemical attack. The group had to hurry to a shelter and don gas masks Monday night during a missile alert.
Mrs. Cardin said the group would return to the United States "to tell the story in depth," and to seek greater financial assistance. "We have to carry that message back and explain that no matter what we have done, it is not enough," she said. "We have to do much more."