Jewish Leaders Confer with Waldheim About Arab Terrorism
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Leaders Confer with Waldheim About Arab Terrorism

Download PDF for this date

Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations met this afternoon with UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim to discuss Palestinian terrorism and the UN’s failure to adopt an effective program to combat it. The delegation, representing the Conference’s 32 national Jewish secular and religious bodies, pointed out that the refugee camps in Lebanon that are centers of terrorist activity are UNRWA camps and therefore the UN is subsidizing terrorism.

Leaders at the meeting expressed their appreciation to Waldheim for his forthright response to the Maalot massacre last week but urged that continued one-sided Security Council resolutions such as that which condemned Israeli reprisals but failed to mention the earlier Kiryat Shemona attack that provoked them, serve only to encourage the terrorists. Led by Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference and president of the American Zionist Federation, the delegates asked that the issue of terrorism be placed on the agenda of the General Assembly at the next session.

Meanwhile, in communities throughout the world, reactions to the Maalot carnage poured in from Jewish and Christian leaders and organizations. Many of these meetings were taking place even as the Conference delegation was meeting with Waldheim. In addition to Rabbi Miller, the delegation included Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, president of the American Jewish Congress; Rose Matzkin, president of Hadassah; Dr. Maurice Sage, president of Mizrachi Hapoel Hamizrachi and Ye huda Hellman, executive director of the Conference.

In Montreal, 7000 Jews, most of them carrying candles, participated In a mass candlelight memorial In MacKenzie Park here, in observance of the end of shiva for the children massacred in Maalot. Henry Steinberg, chairman of the Canadian Zionist Federation, opened the meeting calling on all civilized nations to put an end to terrorism. Father Stephane Valliquette, chairman of the Coun- cil of Churches for Social Action, read Pope Paul’s telegram to the government of Israel condemning the Maalot massacre.

“It is a degradation of open values when the lives of innocent children are sacrificed for political aims. I share in the sorrow of Israel and of the Jewish people,” he said. Federal Minister of Health and Welfare Mare Lalonde said, “The last time I spoke here it was after the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes and now we have gathered in mourning for the death of innocent children killed for political aims. The suffering of innocents, in particular of children, remains for us unexplainable.”

Lalonde quoted from a long personal letter addressed to Premier Golda Meir from Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. “We are overtaken by revulsion and horror from the murder of Israeli children in Maalot and we believe that it is unthinkable that such acts can still exist in a civilized society,” he wrote.

Trudeau’s letter continued: “The Canadian government assures you that it will not cease in its efforts to put an end to terrorism because unless we stop it. what happened yesterday in Israel may happen anywhere tomorrow. Terrorism must be eliminated from our midsts the way piracy was exacerbated in the 19th century.”


In Washington; Walter E. Fauntroy, the District of Columbia’s representative to Congress, said the Arab terrorists who killed the school children at Maalot knew “no bounds of decency,” in a telegram to a gathering of more than 800 people expressing solidarity with Israel at Congregation Har Tzeon in nearby Wheaton, Md. The Black Congressman said, “The brutality of these acts is matched only by the realization that these individuals will stop at nothing to destroy a nation and a people. The world must not be allowed to ignore this fact and the United States must not sit quietly in light of continued terrorist attacks without passing its voice against these actions.”

In Monsey, N.Y., the Religious Jewish Youth of Monsey conducted a 24-hour “Psalm-a-thon” this weekend at the Community Synagogue. Over $2500 was raised from pledges of $5 per 10 minutes of prayer during the time that Psalms were read in memory of the Maalot victims. The money will be used to aid the families of the victims.

In Johannesburg the celebration of Yom Yerushaliam, commemorating the unification of Old and New Jerusalem after the 1967 war, was combined with solemn memorial services for the children killed at Maalot. At the main central service in the Great Synagogue in the city. Chief Rabbi Bernard Casper told the congregation that responsibility for the terrorists’ crime had to be shared by states which sheltered terrorists and governments which remained passive in the face of such outrages. Casper also blamed the UN for adopting resolutions criticizing Israeli retaliation without taking account of the cause. Leading South African newspapers pressed shock at the horror-filled Maalot murders and condemned the terrorists in their recent editorials.

In Paris nearly 1000 persons gathered here yesterday for a memorial ceremony dedicated to the victims of Maalot. The ceremony wan held at dusk on the small, tree-covered point of the Cite Island in the Seine where the crypt of the unknown Jewish martyr stands. In Brussels a mass demonstration took place in the streets of the city last night. The demonstration was organized by the Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Organization of Belgium.

In Cincinnati members of the faculty and student body of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion agreed to visit this summer with the Israeli families which lost children in the Maalot massacre. At a convocation in the Reform seminary’s chapel more than 200 assembled to express their feelings of solidarity with Israel and with the families of the victims of the terrorists. In San Antonio, more than 800 participated in a memorial Sunday morning on the grounds of the Alamo.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund