NEW YORK (Aug. 1)
The Jewish Defense League said here today that seven Jewish and 33 non-Jewish inmates of the Missouri State Penitentiary had signed petitions appealing to Jews “to exert whatever influence possible to win the freedom of Rabbi Meir Kahle,” now awaiting trial in Israel on conspiracy charges.
David Fisch, DL executive director, said that the prisoners, reacting “to the harassment of a man whose words have brought many of them a new outlook on life since their incarceration, expressed grief over Rabbi Kahle’s unjust treatment in Israel.”
Fisch told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that one of the Jewish inmates received reading material which included some of the writings of the DL leader and became “very enthusiastic” about Rabbi Kahle. When he was indicted in Israel, the inmate became very disturbed, Fisch said, and asked the DL office what he could do. Fisch said it was suggested to the inmate that he prepare and circulate a petition, which the prisoner did to both Jewish and non-Jewish inmates, and then sent it to the DL office here.
The petition, signed by eight Jews, including a rehabilitation counselor, which the petition noted was “provided us by Hillel Foundation,” declared that reading Rabbi Kahle’s words “has given us hope, as we sit here in prison and hope for a new life.” The petition also said that for Rabbi Kahle “to be harassed” in Israel and “treated as a criminal is not only a shame to Israel but to the Jewish people.”
Rabbi Kahle was indicted last month on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and other alleged crimes in the United States to damage U.S.-Israeli relations in connection with the June visit to the United States of Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brethren. Rabbi Kahle was released on IL 100,000 bail. No date has been set for trial.