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Orthodox Warn Bloodshed, Violence Possible if Auto Race is Held on Sabbath

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The Supreme Court will consider an application tomorrow for an injunction against the Minister of Police, the International Racing Association and the Mayor of Ashkelon to prevent an international automobile race from taking place there on the Sabbath. The application was filed by religious elements as Orthodox spokesmen warned of violence and possible bloodshed if the race is held next Saturday as scheduled. The court will also hear a plea by two Ashkelon residents who claim the crowds would prevent their attending Sabbath services. (In Tel Aviv, Yaacov Shimshon Shapiro, Minister of Justice and Acting Minister of Police, rejected a request by religious party leaders that the race be banned because crowding would endanger public safety. He said the German and Israeli organizers of the event had received the proper permits and the police could not interfere.)

One warning was sounded by Dr. Itzhak Raphael, leader of the Knesset faction of the National Religious Party. Other religious spokesmen said yeshiva students planned to spend the night at Ashkelon so that they could demonstrate and stage mass prayer rallies at the racetrack. The three religious political parties have made a major issue of the forthcoming race but failed in their efforts to get the government or the Knesset to act to ban it. Israeli States Attorney Meir Shamgar held last week that the race was a private event and the government had no right to interfere. Agudat Israel failed to get the sponsors of the race to call it off. The sponsors reportedly agreed to cancel if the protesters purchased all of the tickets in advance, but the religious group was unable to raise the necessary funds.

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