JERUSALEM (Jan. 1)
Israel’s Minister for Religious Affairs sharply criticized Pope Paul. VI yesterday for sending a message of sympathy to President Charles Helou of Lebanon, over Israel’s commando-raid on Beirut International Airport last Saturday while remaining silent over the “murder of innocent Jews” by Arab terrorists. Zerach Wahrhaftig, speaking on Mount Zion during the annual memorial services for the Jewish victims of the Nazi holocaust, charged that the Vatican had nothing to say when Arab terrorists attacked an Israeli airliner at Athens with the intention of killing all aboard, when terrorists attacked Jewish worshippers at the Patriarch’s Tomb in Hebron, or when they bombed the Machene Yehudah market place in Jerusalem, killing 12 persons Dr. Wahrhaftig compared the Pope’s silence to that of his predecessor, the late Pope Pius XII who, he declared, failed to protest while the Nazis were destroying six million Jews during World War II.
Pope Paul, in a New Year’s Day address in the Vatican, condemned the “recent violent episodes of guerrilla warfare, terrorism and reprisal” and called on all men to resolve their, conflicts without resorting to “murderous brute force.” The Pontiff did not specify any of the world’s trouble spots by name but it was clear his reference was to the Middle East. Sources close to the Vatican said he had in mind the Arab terrorist attack on an Israeli airliner in Athens last Thursday and Saturday’s reprisal raid by Israel on Beirut International Airport.