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Iranian Government Agrees to Appointment of Israeli As Chief Rabbi

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Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim announced here today on his return from a visit to Turkey and Iran, that the Iranian Government had agreed to the appointment of an Israeli rabbi as Chief Rabbi for Iran.

Rabbi Nissim said he had conferred in Teheran with the Iranian Interior Minister, who has jurisdiction over the local Chief Rabbinate. He said the Minister had readily agreed to the appointment of an Israeli citizen to the post.

It was reported that Iranian Jewish religious and lay leaders had apparently agreed on Dr. Kalman Kahana, presently director general of the Israeli Ministry of Religions, as the choice for Chief Rabbi. However, Dr. Kahana has not as yet replied to the presumed invitation.

Before leaving Turkey for Israel, Rabbi Nissim issued a statement praising Turkey’s tolerance toward its religious minorities. The Chief Rabbi said that his studies and contacts in Turkey had proved certain allegations made abroad on the issue of religious freedom in Turkey were completely false. “I observed complete religious freedom,” he said.

The statement was widely publicized in the Turkish press. Rabbi Nissim brought back with him a 1, 000-year-old Torah Scroll presented to him by Turkish Jewish leaders.

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