JERUSALEM (Aug. 22)
Giant placards calling on Orthodox Jews to close ranks and desist from mutual recriminations were posted on public billboards today throughout the city. Without mentioning names, the notices alluded to the current rift between the Agudat Israel party and Agudah Workers party over the latter’s defection from the parent group to join the Government coalition. Agudat Israel extremists had initiated a terror campaign against the leaders of the Agudah Workers faction.
Entitled “A Call for Peace,” the placards bore the signatures of 25 prominent rabbis and heads of yeshivot, including Rabbi Zvi Pessach Frank, Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi. The notices urged both parties to reunite, bury their differences and continue efforts on behalf of Orthodoxy.
Some 10,000 persons attended a rally in B’nei B’rak today at which the Gerer Rebbe urged moderation and restraint on members of Agudat Israel who gathered to protest the independent action of the Agudat laborite faction in leaving the parent organization and joining the Government coalition. The rally followed a series of violent outbreaks by extremists of the Agudat Israel party against leaders and offices of the Agudah Workers faction.
Expressing his regret at the defection by Agudah laborite group, who, he said, had played a great role in the strengthening of Orthodoxy in Israel, the Gerer Rebbe called upon the Agudah members to make all-out efforts for peaceful understanding and urged them to desist from quarreling. Among the other speakers at the rally was Rabbi Zalman Surotzkin, head of the Moetzet G’dolei Hatorah (the Agudah Council of Sages), who demanded that the defectors return to the fold.