Ajcongress Leader Says Israel Faces Danger from Tensions Among Oriental Jews

The Jewish majority in Israel faces the danger of developing its own internal minorities among “distinguishable Jewish segments,” the president of the American Jewish Congress warned last night. Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld of Cleveland, opening the four-day American-Israeli dialogue at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, said that the growing tension among Oriental Jews in Israel threatens a crucial test of the country’s commitment to social justice and minority rights. But he expressed confidence that Israel would be able to deal successfully with these “pitfalls of majority status.” Rabbi Lelyveld declared that the Jews’ goal in establishing Israel was not limited to becoming a majority somewhere, developing a distinctive Jewish culture and expressing a specific Jewish identity. Additionally, he said, the goal was to fulfill the humane values stemming from that culture.

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