Mizrachi Convention Asks for Federal Action on Synagogue Bombings

A resolution asking the United States Government to enact legislation making it a Federal offense to bomb schools, houses of worship and places of public assembly anywhere in the country, was adopted here today at the closing session of the national convention of the Religious Zionists of America. The organization was formed a year ago with the merger of the Mizrachi and Hapoel Mizrachi Organizations. Rabbi Isaac Stollman of Detroit was re-elected national president.

The 800 delegates also urged the government to ban from the mails all racial and religious hate literature. The President was asked to make use of the services of the FBI in investigating violence against schools, churches and synagogues.

In an appeal to the Government of the Soviet Union, the convention asked that it grant full religious liberties and unrestricted cultural freedom to its 3,000,000 Jewish citizens The USSR was also asked to allow Jews who wished to emigrate to Israel to do so.

The United States was called upon to include Israel in the general NATO structure, in another international resolution. On the domestic scene, American Jews were urged to support worthwhile Israeli fund-raising campaigns including the United Jewish Appeal, Israel Bond Organization and the Jewish National Fund.

All states were asked to adopt “fair Sabbath” legislation to relieve the hardship of observant Jewish businessmen and merchants. Civil service commissions on the state, city and Federal levels were urged to end the practice of scheduling competitive examinations on the Sabbath.

Addressing the convention last night, Moshe Shapiro, former Minister of Religions in Israel, charged the Israel Cabinet with “isolating the Israel Government from Jewish communities the world over because of its efforts to instil secular practices in Israel.” Mr. Shapiro declared that Premier David Ben Gurion had “made a deplorable error” in his effort to issue an edict which was designed “to give a secular definition of what constitutes a member of the Jewish people.” The question “who is a Jew” precipitated a Cabinet crises in Israel last June and resulted in the resignation of Mr. Shapiro from his post.

“The question of Jewishness has always been determined by our rabbinical authorities who have been guided by the precepts of our religious teachings,” Mr. Shapiro said. He charged that Mr. Ben Gurion and members of his coalition government “wished to usurp this precious authority and to convert it into a civil and secular matter in utter disregard of religious teachings.” He pointed out that his resignation from the Israel Cabinet was “not a matter of caprice.”

“We cannot,” he continued, “possibly consider returning to the Cabinet unless the question of Jewish identity is once again restored to the authority to which it fully belongs, namely, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Despite his criticism, Mr. Shapiro made a strong appeal for the support of Israel to “safeguard its economic and democratic way of life.”

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