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Jewish Leaders Call on U.s., Un, Aviation Community to Act Against Hijackers

Jewish leaders and organizations today denounced the terrorist hijacking and called upon the United States, United Nations and airline pilots and associations to take prompt action to secure the release of the passengers and to punish the terrorist groups responsible and the governments which give them encouragement and sanctuary. Dr. William A. Wexler, president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said “the hijackings imperil not only the individuals and the companies involved, but the very integrity of American citizenship. In effect, every citizen of the United States is being held hostage by the criminal band of terrorists guilty of this loathsome deed. The challenge to our nation is unmistakable. Our response must be equally plain,” In a telegram to President Nixon. Philip A. Hoffman, president of the American Jewish Committee, called upon the U.S. to do “everything in its power to ensure that all American citizens, along with citizens of other countries, flying under the protection of the American flag, are freed at once without harm.” Mr. Hoffman stated the AJCommittee was “dismayed and distressed by reports that hostages are being singled out on the basis of religion, and there is the grave possibility that Jews may be subject to special harassment and abuse.”

Rabbi Meyer Cohen, executive director of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada sent telegrams to Pres. Nixon and to Secretary of State William P. Rogers appealing for their “immediate, personal intervention” to secure the release of the hijacked passengers. Rabbi Roland E. Gittelsohn, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, called upon the international airlines to boycott any nation who “directly or indirectly” supports air piracy. “The U.S. must act at once to eliminate this curse of air piracy,” Rabbi Gittelsohn said. Rabbi Israel Miller, president of the American Zionist Federation said “The concern expressed at the hijacking of the airlines must be concretized into action to prevent such deeds of terror and sabotage in the future. Only effective international sanctions against the country which harbors hijackers or saboteurs will deter these criminal acts.” Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, said “Unless drastic sanctions are imposed, this wanton program of terrorism unquestionably will continue, with Arab statesmen publicly expressing regretful helplessness–but privately applauding the perpetrators.”

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