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Orthodox Group Challenges Nrp Right to Speak for ‘torah Jewry’

Rabbi Abraham Gross, president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, said today that there was “need now to clarify” whether Israel’s National Religious Party “has the authority to speak on behalf of Torah Jewry.” He said this was so in light of the NRP’s abstention in the halachic conversion bill vote in the Knesset last Wednesday. Rabbi Gross said the NRP’s blanket abstention, except for one of its members, Dr. Avner Sciaky, defied the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and other religious authorities who had made clear their support of the measure.

“Mere support of principles of halacha, Jewish law, and organization captions calling for the land to be according to Torah and then following an act which indicates that a seat in the government is above Torah cannot be condoned,” Rabbi Gross declared.

He also sharply criticized Premier Golda Meir for dismissing Dr. Sciaky, the Deputy Minister of Education, because he voted for the halachic conversion bill which the government opposed. “In a democracy a man has a right to express his opinion especially when principles are involved,” Rabbi Gross said.

The Committee for Jewish Survival, another Orthodox group, announced today that it was starting a “world-wide campaign against Mizrachi” because of the NRP position in the Knesset vote on the conversion amendment. The NRP represents the Mizrachi-Hapoel Hamizrachi movement. A spokesman for the Committee said it would launch a campaign to have Orthodox Jews withdraw financial support from Mizrachi and would ask the Orthodox rabbinate to warn Mizrachi leaders among its members that they must resign from Mizrachi or end their affiliation with an Orthodox rabbinical body.

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