Jewish Leaders in Morocco Split over Candidate to Cabinet Post

Sharp differences of opinion within the Jewish community of Morocco have prevented the naming of M. Ben Simon, president of the Jewish Community of Rabat, to the post of Minister of Minister of Post and Telegraph in the Moroccan Cabinet, whose composition was announced yesterday.

After prolonged deliberations among leaders of the Moslem nationalist parties, it was decided that Mr. Ben Simon be invited to become a member of the Moroccan Cabinet, officially holding the portfolio of Minister of Post and Telegraph out actually representing the 300,000 Jews of Morocco in the government. However, at the last moment the Jewish community refused to permit him to accept the post. The choice of another candidate is now being discussed by leaders of Moroccan Jewry while the Cabinet post assigned to Mr. Ben Simon remains unfilled.

The World Jewish Congress reported today that leading rabbis of Morocco, at a meeting in Rabat, described the Council of Moroccan Jewish Communities as a “body without legal standing,” responsible exclusively for coordination of welfare activities. The rabbis, who included spiritual leaders from the largest Jewish centers in Morocco as well as the grand rabbis of the High Rabbinical Tribunal, claimed that the Council had improperly proclaimed itself as representing the political interests of Moroccan Jewry. They urged that political problems be dealt with by a central coordinating committee representing all major Jewish organizations in Morocco.

The WJC also reported that the Association des Anciens Eleves (alumni) of the Alliance Israelite Universelle had similarly declared in a resolution that “the Council of Moroccan Jewish Communities is a non-political body and has no qualifications whatsoever to represent Moroccan Jewry.” It revealed that the Jewish Community of Fez, second largest community in Morocco, has withdrawn from the Council.

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