Israel’s Chief Rabbi Intervenes to Prevent New Sabbath Clashes

Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim was reported today to have intervened in the spreading controversy over zealot Sabbath demonstrations in Jerusalem by opening secret talks with leaders of the ultra-Orthodox Jews here.

Rabbi Nissim reportedly discussed with leaders of the Neturei Karta a plan to divert Sabbath traffic which now proceeds on a road which skirts the orthodox Mea Shearim section of Jerusalem. The road carries traffic through the Mandelbaum Gate which separates old and new Jerusalem.

The reports were that if the Government would show a real interest in the proposal, and indicate readiness to implement it, the ultra-zealot sect might consider dropping plans for new demonstrations next Saturday. Rabbi Nissim was said to have discussed the plan with Neturei Karta representatives and asked them to maintain complete secrecy until authorities have a look at it.

Israel’s Parliament voted yesterday to turn the problem over to a committee after Premier Levi Eshkol reported that a Ministerial Committee was studying the possibilities of an alternate route for the Mandelbaum Gate traffic.

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