Orthodox Leader Urges Muting “kultur Kampf” over Religion in Time of Peril for Israel

Rabbi Louis Bernstein, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, has called on the people of Israel to “put an end to their internal differences and to present a united front that is so desperately needed in these dangerous hours.” In his presidential address to be delivered at the opening of the RCA’s 38th annual national convention here tomorrow. Rabbi Bernstein noted that Israel “has been weakened by war and by the economic pressures mounted by the Arab world. Even our own government is applying pressures against Israel despite its professions of friendship.” he said. The RCA is the largest Orthodox rabbinic organization in the country.

Rabbi Bernstein assailed those he called “extremists” on both ends “of the incipient kultur kampf” over religious issues that he saw posing “a very serious threat to the future of Israel.” He asserted that while “We are not suggesting that there not be debate and discussion of these issues…we are suggesting very strongly that these issues can be resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding.” He called on both religious and secular groups for coexistence and cooperation “in a spirit of mutual love for the land and its needs.”

On the American scene, Rabbi Bernstein expressed concern over the “so-called growth of Black anti-Semitism” observing that “There is no such thing as Black anti-Semitism. There is anti-Semitism without color.” According to the RCA president, “Black anti-Semitism is a direct product of white anti-Semitism, which is by far the greater danger to the well-being of our democratic society. Black anti-Semitism.” he contended, “is most often encouraged, subsidized and instigated by the classical anti-Semites who have never given up their struggle to destroy democracy by sowing dissension within the ranks of the democratic community.”

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