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Reform Jews Rap Religious Parties

A demand that the government not yield to the demands of the National Religious Party and the Aguda list to amend the Law of Return as sought by the religious parties was voiced here by leaders of the Reform and Conservative congregations in Israel.

Prof. Ezra Spice handler, dean of the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, Rabbi Bernard Segal of the Conservative movement in Israel, and Rabbi Richard Hirsch, executive secretary of the World Union of Progressive Judaism, said at a press conference here that the change sought–to disqualify persons converted abroad by Conservative or Reform rabbis from immigration to Israel under the Law of Return–would imperil the unity of the nation.

They further claimed that not only would the amendment be in contradiction to an understanding given by Premier Golda Meir that non-Orthodox conversion performed abroad would be recognized by the State, but that it would also constitute interference by the secular state in the religious affairs of Jews who reside beyond its bounds. The spokesmen charged the religious parties in Israel with exploiting the difficult international situation and internal political problems to coerce changes in the law.

Lod Airport was officially renamed Ben Gurion Airport in a modest and solemn ceremony Tuesday.

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