Eshkol Calls for Mutual Respect on Religious Issues in Israel

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol today called for mutual understanding and respect and warned against the danger of a split within the nation over religious issues.

Addressing the groundbreaking ceremonies for a new cultural hall at Yad Binyamin settlement, named for the late Poalei Agudat Israel Cabinet Minister Binyamin Mintz, the Premier said: “The fact that we are isolated forces us to be equipped with knowledge and wisdom and, above all, with the love of Israel and the love of one brother to another.”

Religious leaders at the gathering stressed the need for unity in the nation and opposed coercion of any kind, but appealed to the Government to see that religious feelings are honored and ways found to avert Sabbath incidents.

Interior Minister and Religious Party leader Haim Shapiro was reported today to have protested to Mr. Eshkol concerning the Premier’s condemnation of disturbances caused by religious zealots in Jerusalem. The Premier made the criticism in his “state of the union” address to the opening winter session yesterday of the Parliament. Mr. Shapiro reportedly complained to the Premier that he had not clearly condemned the anti-religious groups which last week forced their way into an Orthodox section of Jerusalem and threatened violence.

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