PARIS (Jan. 31)
Chief Rabbi Jacob Kaplan revealed yesterday that the Catholic and Protestant churches in France have refused to participate with the Jewish community in a joint protest against Syria’s refusal to release the Israeli POWs it holds. Rabbi Kaplan, addressing the general assembly of the French Central Consistory, said that he had asked the Catholic and Protestant churches to join the Rabbinate in protesting to the Red Cross Committee in Geneva against Syria’s refusal to respect the Geneva Convention.
Catholic sources told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Paris Cardinal has publicly called for the release of the Israeli POWs in Syria and for the implementation of the Geneva Convention by all countries concerned. These sources said that the joint protest text was found to be of a political nature and one-sided as it made no mention of Syria’s demands for the return of its 15,000 civilians to the villages now under Israeli occupation as prescribed by the Geneva Convention. (Protestant sources were not available for comment when queried by the JTA.)
The Consistory, the central organization of French synagogues, reasserted its solidarity with Israel. Consistory President Alain de Rothschild told the Assembly that Israel’s “growing isolation makes it imperative for practicing Jews to show more than ever in the past their backing of Israel and its stand.”