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Rabbi Berzon Says Religious Jews Should Eschew Violence, Scores Zealots

The head of the largest Orthodox rabbinical group in America says that religious Jews should use persuasion, not violence to perpetuate their views in Israel. Rabbi Bernard L, Berzon, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, scored militant religious zealots and “secularists” alike in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening session of the Council’s midwinter conference here. He claimed that both would undermine the image of Israel and the teachings of religion all over the world, especially in the US.

Rabbi Berzon’s remarks were in reference to recent violence by religious zealots against Sabbath violators and threats and harassment of pathologists who perform autopsies at government hospitals. He also assailed non-observant elements in Israel who oppose Orthodox views. “The religious groups must understand that they will achieve their goals not only through legislation and certainly not through demonstrations.” Rabbi Berzon said.

“They will achieve them by persuading the population of the relevance of their religious concepts to Israel’s needs today.” At the same time he warned “Israel’s secularists” that “a kulturkampf will destroy their future.” Rabbi Berzon claimed that Israel is not only a haven for homeless Jews but “a crucible for Jewish religion and spiritual enhancement.”

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