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World Calendar Reform Proposal Dropped for a Year by U.N. Council

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Consideration of the so called “world calendar reform,” proposed by India and opposed by Jews throughout the world, was postponed today by the United Nations Economic and Social Council and will not be taken up until next year. The proposal to defer discussion on the subject for a year was made at the opening session of the Council today by Dr. Arthur S. Lall, chief of India’s delegation.

The resolution introduced by India more than a year ago urging the Council to consider the proposal for changes in the calendar is now considered virtually killed. It became apparent today that the resolution would be defeated if discussed and voted upon at the present session of the Council. Expressions of opinion on the subject from governments throughout the world solicited in preparation for today’s meeting by Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold showed that 23 countries opposed revision of the calendar; nine countries favored further study of the idea but refused to endorse it at the present time; and only two of the responses–from Thailand and from the Principality of Monaco–favored it outright.

Israel was among the nations protesting vigorously against the movement. Jewish organizations had representatives here today ready to argue against India’s proposal. Israel’s views were summarized in four points. A change in the calendar would break the continuity of the seven-day week which is “deeply rooted in the religious consciousness and tradition of great sections of the world. The Sabbath is a fundamental element of Judaism. The proposed plan, by dislocating the present harmony between the Jewish and the Gregorian calendar will react adversely on the commerce and State of Israel. The introduction of blank days negates ancient cultural and historical values and is not likely to promote relationships of tolerance between different nations, communities and creeds.”

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