Minister Declares Israelis Have Become Oppressors of Jerusalem Bases Sermon on Israeli Professor
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Minister Declares Israelis Have Become Oppressors of Jerusalem Bases Sermon on Israeli Professor

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A leading Washington minister, the Rev. Francis B. Sayre, Jr., declared in a Palm Sunday sermon yesterday that the “once-oppressed” Israelis had become the “oppressors” of Jerusalem. The dean of the Washington Cathedral said he was basing his charge mainly on the views of a Hebrew University professor, Israel Shahak, who the dean said had described Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 as “an immoral and unjust act.”

(A spokesman for the American Friends of the Hebrew University in New York said Dr. Shahak was a lecturer in organic chemistry at the university and was born in Warsaw. He said he had no information as to whether the scholar was a dissident in Israel.)

Dean Sayre quoted Shahak as declaring in the current issue of Christianity and Crisis, a journal of Christian religious and social opinion, that until the “non-Jews” of Jerusalem are given “freedom.” the present situation “of one community oppressing the other will poison us all–and us Jews first of all.”


Dean Sayre said in his sermon that contemporary events in Jerusalem were only one of many examples of “the moral tragedy of mankind.” He added: “What a mirror then is modern Israel of that fatal flaw in the human breast that forever leaps to the acclaim of God, only to turn the next instant to the suborning of His will for us.”

He said many people had cheered when the Jews in 1967 “surged across the open scar” dividing new Jerusalem from Jordan-held old Jerusalem “but now oppressed become oppressors.” He charged that Arab residents of Jerusalem were deported or “deprived unjustly” of their land and forbidden to bring their relatives to settle in Jerusalem. He asserted that Arabs “have neither voice nor happiness in the city that is the capital of their religious devotion, too.”

Dean Sayre’s comments were made in the context of a reflection on the religious significance of the holy city, a traditional topic for Palm Sunday. He declared that Jerusalem “in all the pain of her history, remains the sign of our utmost reproach: The zenith of our hope, undone by the wanton meanness of men who will not share it with their fellows, but choose to kill rather than to be overruled by God.”

King Hussein of Jordan is due to arrive tomorrow in Washington to meet with US officials in an effort to explain his plan for a united Arab kingdom.

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