Mrs. Meir Charges Soviets with Shedding Blood of People to Establish Mideast Control

Premier Golda Meir made a blistering attack on Soviet Russia today. She accused the Kremlin of shedding “the blood of other peoples–Egyptians, Syrians, Israelis–it does not matter to them” in order to “establish control over the Middle East with its oil riches.” Addressing 500 delegates at the opening of the eighth biennial convention of the World Council of Synagogues, international representative body of Conservative Judaism, the Premier charged that the USSR was “an imperialist power.” She said, “Like a thief in a crowd who wants to evade suspicion and yells, ‘stop thief,’ the Soviet Union attaches the label of imperialism to others.” Mrs. Meir also categorically rejected an Egyptian offer of a cease-fire in the Suez Canal zone limited to six months or less, in return for the withdrawal of Israeli forces. “We want a cease-fire but without conditions and without a time limit,” she said. She served notice that Israel would not shrink from attacking aircraft flown by Soviet pilots.

“Running away or not running away is for us not a question of prestige,” Mrs. Meir said, “it is a question of our lives. We have to control the canal zone as a matter of defense. If anyone stands in our way of self-defense, we shall not run away from him,” Mrs. Meir declared. The convention was warmly greeted by Minister of Religious Affairs Dr. Zerach Warhaftig. He quoted from the Midrash which says that Jerusalem is the city that united Jews. He recalled that in the days prior to the June, 1967 Six-Day War, “Our only reliable support came from our brethren throughout the world.” Chaim Chiell, chairman of the United Synagogue of Israel referred briefly to the religious controversy in this country. He declared that the Conservative movement did not want to take away adherents of the Orthodox or Reform branches of Judaism in Israel but wanted to develop among those who belong to neither camp. He said halacha–religious law–was being misunderstood. The very word, he noted, means going forward, proceeding, which indicated that it was not meant to be a rigid body of law.

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