Levovitz Finds Christians, Moslems, Greek Orthodox Enjoy Full Freedom in Israel

Christian, Moslem and Greek Orthodox communities in Israel and the occupied areas are enjoying complete religious liberty and cultural freedom without the slightest restraint or hindrance by the Israel Government, according to the president of the Rabbinical Council of America. The Council is the largest Orthodox rabbinical body in the United States with over 1,000 members.

Rabbi Pesach Levovitz of Lakewood, N.J., the president, who has just returned from a mission to Israel to study the status of religious denominations there, said in his presidential address to the Council’s convention, opening today, that religious "leaders of the Catholic, Protestant and Moslem faiths told me in unequivocal terms that their spiritual activities were being carried on within a framework of maximum encouragement, assistance and freedom." He said that he met in Israel with Armenian Patriarch Elisha II; Greek Orthodox Patriarch Constantine; Dr. Douglas Young, director of the Holy Land Institute (Protestant); and leaders of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, as well as Moslem.

Rabbi Levovitz told the 500 delegates from the United States and Canada that non-Jewish clergymen said that there had been no interference or restriction on access to Holy Shrines, houses of worship and centers of their respective movements. Rabbi Levovitz said Christian and Moslem leaders with whom he met vehemently opposed internationalization or fragmentation of Jerusalem. They said they were experiencing more religious freedom today than ever before. Rabbi Levovitz said they believe that the unification of Jerusalem is proving to be essential for proper and effective administration of the Holy Places.

Rabbi Levovitz also assailed the Reconstructionist movement for what he said was its position "regarding the recognition as a full-fledged Jew of a person born of a non-Jewish mother without any official conversion to Judaism." He said this flouts Jewish tradition, is without precedent and detrimental to "the future survival and viability of Jewry" since it "undermines the structure of Judaism in a most strategic and crucial sector of the faith." He said it was a "direct kind of intermarriage."

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