Israel Govt. Condemns Attacks on Missionary Schools; 100 Arrested
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Israel Govt. Condemns Attacks on Missionary Schools; 100 Arrested

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The heads of the Greek Catholic and Latin churches in Israel today expressed appreciation for the prompt action on the part of the police in dispersing demonstrations yesterday by yeshiva students at foreign missionary schools in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem. More than 100 of the youths were arrested as a result of these demonstrations.

Greek Catholic Archbishop George Hakim and acting Latin Patriarch Dr. Hanna Kaldani, who called at the Premier’s office today, cited the good relations existing between the Government and the various Christian communities in Israel. Voicing hope that the demonstrations would not recur, the prelates lauded Premier Eshkol for his immediate censure of the demonstrations.

In a statement expressing the “gravity” with which the Government views the demonstrations, the Premier stressed that the Government “will use its authority to bring those responsible to trial and to prevent the recurrence of such regrettable incidents.”

The demonstrations, which were apparently coordinated in the three cities, were directed at the French St. Joseph’s Convent School in Jerusalem, the British Bat El missionary school in Haifa and another British missionary institution in Jaffa.

Later today, during a meeting with Religious Affairs Minister Zorach Warhaftig, the two Christian religious leaders received assurance that the Government would not tolerate violence or illegal gathering outside the missions. Dr. Warhaftig pointed out, however, that there had been friction in the past between the various denominations themselves over the question of missionary activities. He told the prelates that it was “the duty of the Government to support constructive efforts to assure a complete Jewish education for every Jewish child.”


This morning, the British and French charges d’affaires called on the Foreign Ministry to protest the demonstrations while French Consul General in Jerusalem Lucien-Pierre Lemoine called on the district governor here, S.B. Yeshaya, with a similar protest.

M. Lemoine said that St. Joseph’s Convent School, as a French cultural institution, never engaged in missionary activities. Israelis who chose to send their children there, he said, paid tuition fees for courses freely available at Government schools. Noting that he had received many protests from French clergymen, M. Lemoine said that there were never any previous complaints about the convent.

In Jerusalem, the demonstrators had forced the main gate of St. Joseph’s school but were prevented by police from entering the building. In Jaffa, some 150 yeshiva students marched into the missionary school bearing posters and singing religious songs. The demonstrators, however, offered co resistance when police ejected them from the premises.

In Haifa, some 50 religious youths pushed their way into the Bat El School and smashed the office. The school’s principal complained that the rioters also roughed up the institution’s physician.

Police arrested more than 100 demonstrators in Jerusalem, seven in Jaffa and nine in Haifa. Among those detained were many foreign nationals including a number of Americans. All but one of those arrested were released. The one demonstrator remaining under arrest was said to have resisted police.

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