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Junta in Chile Reported Friendly Towards Jewish Community

The Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith reported today that it has received information that the military junta in Chile has made some positive gestures towards the Jewish community. In addition to sending identical New Year’s messages to the Representative Committee of the Jewish Community of Chile and to the Zionist Federation of Chile, the Junta chiefs reportedly sent several aides to attend the closing synagogue service on Yom Kippur as an apparent gesture of respect and friendship, a practice that has not happened in Chile for many years, the ADL reported.

The New Year’s message signed by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, was read in all synagogues and broadcast on radio. It asked the presidents of the two organizations to transmit “our best wishes that the New Year of the Jewish people–whose religion is the base of our civilization and our moral principles–be one of peace and prosperity.” The message also reiterated the junta’s respect for “the Chilean national tradition of freedom of religion…”

Worship services for the Sabbath and High Holy Days were held as usual, except that evening services were held at an earlier hour so as to enable worshippers to return home before the curfew hour. Services at two synagogues in Santiago were conducted by Rabbi Angel Kreiman and Rabbi Abraham Skorka.

An advertisement in “El Mercurio” Sept. 26, signed by seven major Jewish organizations asked members of the Jewish community to subscribe to the National Campaign of Reconstruction. Jews were asked to make their contributions to the Jewish Committee for National Reconstruction.

WJCONGRESS URGED TO PROTEST AGAINST JUNTA

Meanwhile a report from Bucharest stated that the Chief Rabbi of Rumania, Dr. Moses Rosen, who is also the chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities in that country, has sent a message to Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, asking him to protest against what he termed the arbitrary behavior of the Chilean junta in its suppression of democratic rule and its introduction of violence against Chilean citizens.

Rabbi Rosen said that Jews, because of their experience in the past, have a duty to protest against brutality. The Chief Rabbi also expressed anxiety about the fate of Chilean Jews and asked for the intervention of Dr. Goldmann and the WJCongress at this level, too, “in the spirit of the decisions and practice of the Congress to defend Jews who are oppressed wherever this may happen.”

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