Knesset Denounces Hiding of Boy Kidnaped from Non-orthodox Parents

A resolution denouncing the hiding of ten-year-old Yosselle Schumacher as a criminal act and calling on the public for maximum effort to return the child to his parents was approved without objection last night by Israel’s Parliament. The boy has been hidden by Orthodox Jews since he was abducted from his non-religious parents some two-and-a-half years ago.

The resolution wording was a compromise between the deputies who wanted an amnesty for those involved in the hiding of the boy–if he was returned–and the deputies insisting on the child’s unconditional return. Approval was preceded by a heated full-dress debate.

A rider proposed by Aguda Israel, which voted for the resolution, that the Knesset call on those who “have exploited the incident to besmirch religious Jewry” to cease such “incitement” was defeated. Police last year raided an Agudat Israel settlement and arrested several of its members in a search for Yossele.

Deputies participating in the debate cited the appeals of rabbis, including the ultra-Orthodox rabbis, for the child’s immediate return. They were divided, however, on the issue of promising amnesty to those holding the boy. Orthodox speakers advocated non-prosecution but other deputies said that such a condition would be tantamount to blackmail to which the Government should never agree.

The final form of the resolution did not make any mention of the term “kidnaping” or the issue of amnesty. It was presented as a joint resolution on behalf of the opposition and the Government coalition, with the exception of the Communists who abstained from voting and the Agudat Israel deputies who supported it with their rider.

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