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U.S. Orthodox Rabbis Reject Charge of Seeking to ‘Coerce’ Israel Govt.

The Rabbinical Council of America, an Orthodox group, today joined the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations in taking issue with the seven major Jewish organizations which last week cabled to Israel’s Premier Levi Eshkol to resist pressure of "extremist religious group "in the United States.

The seven organizations charged that these "extremist religious groups" are seeking by coercion to deprive Jews and non-Jews in Israel of full religious freedom. In a letter addressed to the seven organizations by the two Orthodox groups they termed the cable to Mr. Eshkol "a scurrilous attack and a complete fabrication" and demanded a retraction.

"We can only assume that you were referring to our request that the effort to convert Jewish children in Israel through material blandishment be curtailed," the letter of the Orthodox groups stated, asking whether the organizations which sent the cable to Premier Eshkol approved of "taking advantage of poverty and ignorance and utilizing them to proselytize our young children." The seven organizations are the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and the United Synagogue of America.)

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