NEW YORK (Jul. 8)
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, has accused the Israel Government of letting non-Jews into Israel as Jews simply on the basis of documents, attesting to that fact, no matter how unauthentic the document or its source of origin may be. Such a “permissive” policy, the Rebbe claimed, could lead to a burgeoning Fifth Column in Israel, apart from compromising Jewish authenticity. The 69-year-old Hassidic leader spoke before 3,000 of his followers here for a full six hours at a celebration marking the 44th anniversary of the liberation from Russian imprisonment of his father-in-law, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Joseph L. Schneersohn. The Rebbe denounced recent demonstrations here on behalf of Soviet Jews which, he contended, have led to tragic consequences in Russia, including severs persecution, the separation of families and the loss of jobs.
Rabbi Schneersohn, who has long been active in rescuing Jews from behind the Iron Curtain by adroitly applied “quiet diplomacy.” suggested that the demonstrators turn their energies toward creating a renaissance of “Yiddishkeit” among Russian emigres in the U.S. and elsewhere. He urged Jewish women in particular, because of their central role in the family, to spearhead a new effort directing toward “Torah Judaism” the few Jews who have managed to leave Russia. The Rebbe maintained that the issue of who is allowed into Israel as a Jew is directly involved with the controversial question of “who is a Jew?” He insisted that only a rabbinical court of conversion acting in full accordance with halacha (religious law) should be authorized to perform conversions. Charging that even a gentile can now draw up documents acceptable to Israeli authorities, Schneersohn urged the Meir Government to amend recent changes in Israel’s Law of Return so that it will be based solely on halacha. He urged his followers and Jews everywhere to cable or write the Israel Government in opposition to its present immigration and conversion policies.