Menu JTA Search

Hope for Compromise on Jewish Identity Issue Fades in Israel Talks

Hopes for resolving the current government crisis, which developed over the definition of the word “Jew” in Israel’s new identity card, faded today as the National Religious Party rejected a new compromise authored by Dr. Pinhas Rosen, Minister of Justice.

The so-called Rosen Plan was offered yesterday by Premier David Ben Gurion when he conferred with the resigned Minister of Religions Moshe Shapiro and other Religious Party leaders in an attempt to find a way out of the present impasse. However, the executive of the Religious Party today rejected the plan claiming that it would once again set up two kinds of Jews–one, a Jew by religion, the other by declaration.

The Rosen Plan suggested that the present question in the identity card combining religion and nationality, should be replaced by the following:

A. Religion and nationality–those filling in the answer to this question would be considered religious Jews.

B. Religion and nationality, listed separately–this would enable non-religious elements as well as Arabs and Christians to be registered as such.

C. Assumed Jewish religion–this would serve to register those who declare themselves to have assumed the Jewish faith.

After turning this plan down, the Religious Party officials reiterated their willingness to discuss any new proposals to solve the crisis, though they again stressed their desire to return to what they called the status quo–the registration method in effect when Mr. Shapira was Minister of the Interior.

Meanwhile, the Religious Party and religious authorities have launched a campaign to arouse public opinion against the government regulations. The municipal councils will be the scene next week of fierce debates as Religious Bloc councillors ask for resolutions urging the government to change its action.

It was learned that Religious Party delegates to a forthcoming meeting of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva will put forth the same demand. The question will also be placed on the agenda of the next meeting of the Zionist Actions Committee.

NEXT STORY