WASHINGTON (Oct. 20)
Gen. Robert P. Taylor, of the Armed Forces Chaplains Board, was asked today by Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, to clarify the situation of U. S. Air Force personnel of Jewish faith, based at Wheelus Air Base in Libya, where they are experiencing some deprivation of free religious expression.
Rep. Halpern said he had learned of “subtle discriminatory measures taken to accommodate the Libyan Government” because of its “anti-Jewish leanings.” Families of dependents of Jewish servicemen are unable to follow their faith unhampered, the Congressman said, and are experiencing hardships because of their religious convictions.
Rep. Halpern said that, while it is necessary to respect the institutions of foreign nations, where Americans serve, “it is equally necessary that the United States safeguard its own fundamental concepts.” He told Gen. Taylor that he has a reliable report “that the American-operated Air Force radio station for personnel at Wheelus Base has specifically disallowed any public reference to Judaism or Jewish thought.”
He said that “some of the Jewish personnel and their families feel a subtle intimidation, understandable with respect to the Libyan climate, but inexcusable when perpetrated or abetted by American authorities.” He asked Gen. Taylor to report on the religious situation of the Jewish personnel assigned to Libya.