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Board of Rabbis Hails Declaration of World Council of Churches on Israel Recognition

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The recent declaration of the World Council of Churches in Candia, Crete, which called for the political independence and territorial integrity of all nations in the Middle East, was hailed yesterday by the New York Board of Rabbis. The board comprises 900 Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis.

Rabbi Edward T. Sandrow, board president, said the declaration was a “sign of courage on the part of the Christian clergy,” since it advocated recognition of Israel by the Arab states “in spite of the fact that in many Arab states Christians are a minority and their religious leaders are subject to heavy pressure by the governments which are hostile to Israel.”

During the recently-concluded conference of world church leaders of Protestant and Orthodox faiths, Arab Christian delegates had pressed for a strong anti-Israel statement. The statement that was finally approved criticized Israel’s takeover of territories during the Six-Day War, but firmly advocated Israel’s right to exist — along with that of all other Middle Eastern nations. The Council also called for an international agreement on access to the holy places in Jerusalem, without mentioning the plan advanced two months ago by Pope Paul VI for placing those shrines under international control.

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