Anti-israel Remarks by Syrian Patriarch Deplored by Embassy in Argentina

Anti-Israel remarks made by the Syrian Christian Patriarch of Antioch, Maximos V. Hakim, during his visit here as a guest of the Argentine Government, were denounced in a statement issued by the Israel Embassy today. Patriarch Hakim blamed the creation of the State of Israel for the misfortunes suffered by the Arabs and charged that Israel barred access to Jerusalem’s Holy Places to 15 million Arab Christians and 100 million Moslems living in Arab lands.

The Embassy’s statement noted that the Patriarch had lived in Israel for 20 years and had cooperated closely with the Government in religious and economic matters and had affiliated himself voluntarily with Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation. When he was in Israel he spoke in a totally different manner, the Embassy said.

It charged Patriarch Hakim with ignoring the origin of the Arab refugee problem in the war, which it said, the Arabs started in 1948 against Israel “when they incited the Arab population of Palestine to leave temporarily so as not to interfere with invading Arab armies.” The Embassy said it was “astounded” by Patriarch Hakim’s charges about the Holy Places when for 20 years he has ignored the destruction of synagogues in Arab-occupied Jerusalem and has never protested the fact that Moslems and Christians living in Israel, as well as Jews, had been barred by Jordanian authorities from the Holy Places in the Old City.

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