Israeli Religious Leader Asks Secular Jewry for Understanding

Moshe Shapira, Minister of the Interior and leader of Israel’s National Religious party, today called for greater understanding on the part of the secular community toward their religious fellow citizens. Addressing the 20th World Convention of Mizrachi-Hapoel Hamizrachi, Mr. Shapira said that cooperation between the religious and secular camps confronted the movement with difficult tests.

“We will continue to fight for mutual understanding through a spirit of free compromise without forfeiting our principles for the great common purpose of a renaissance of the Jewish people,” Mr. Shapira declared. Referring to the problem of Israel’s security and the flow of arms into Egypt, Mr. Shapira expressed the confidence that “the people in Zion and its army will know how to foil the enemy as in the past.”

Reporting on problems of education, Rabbi Bezalel Katz, a Mizrachi leader, told the delegates that the movement now had 1,160 religious institutions as compared with 779 seven years ago when the Mizrachi-Hapoel Hamizrachi last convened. He noted that 75 percent of the elementary religious school graduates continued to high school.

Bezalel Bazak, secretary general of the organization, announced that three new Bnei Akiva high schools will be opened when school begin next month. Harry Landy of London, lauded the accomplishments in Britain of religious education despite the meager budget. However, he criticized the Mizrachi information services, saying that British youth wanted to know what Mizrachi has to offer after 14 years of Israeli statehood. He urged increased activity in this sphere.

NEXT STORY