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Cabinet Committee Agrees to Have Dayan Arrange for Yom Kippur Services in Hebron

A ministerial committee of the Cabinet decided today to let Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan work out arrangements with Moslem religious leaders in Hebron so that Jewish settlers there can hold Yom Kippur services at the Patriarchs’ tombs. A conflict had developed between the Moslems and the Orthodox Jews because the tomb site is located in the compound of the Ibrahimi mosque. The committee, whose session was held at the request of Minister for Religious Affairs, Dr. Zerach Warhaftig, also decided to let the Israel Army chaplaincy corps retain responsibility for Jewish religious needs in the area for the time being. The Cabinet recently removed administrative control of the West Bank territories from the military government and vested it in a ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol.

Sheikh Hilmi el Muhtasib, president of the Moslem Council in East Jerusalem, who is regarded as the supreme Moslem religious authority on the West Bank, led a protest against the permission granted the Hebron Jews to hold their Rosh Hashanah services at the tomb. He claimed that the Jewish worshippers exceeded the time allotted to non-Moslem visitors to the mosque and sounded the shofar within the mosque compound, all in violation, he said, of an agreement between the Moslem community and the military governor.