JERUSALEM (Jan. 7)
Two army reserve officers of the chaplaincy corps filed a libel suit against Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren today over his recent allegations that the corps had badly mishandled body retrievals during the Yom Kippur War. Although Rabbi Goren, in a television appearance last night, retracted his charges, the plaintiffs, Eliahu Hirsch and Avshalom Langer, are demanding symbolic damages of one Pound or a full apology from the Chief Rabbi.
The matter has stirred widespread anger against Rabbi Goren for causing renewed grief and pain to many bereaved families, Yediot Achronot reported today that a group of parents who lost sons in the war planned to sue Rabbi Goren before a religious court. His allegation that the chaplaincy corps failed to retrieve bodies on the Sabbath and festivals, thereby creating a severe morale problem among the armed forces, was sharply rebutted by Defense. Minister Shimon Peres in the Knesset yesterday.
Rabbi Goren went on television last night to say he thought the matter should be closed and expressed admiration for the work of the chaplaincy corps, But indignation continued to run high over the disclosure that Rabbi Goren’s office had planted a “question” on a radio program last week that gave the Chief Rabbi the opportunity to attack the chaplaincy corps. Rabbi Goren had claimed that the question, telephoned to the radio station by a listener, was “spontaneous.”
The Jerusalem Post disclosed that the questioner was in fact an employe of the Chief Rabbi who falsely identified himself as an army officer who had seen unretrieved bodies lying around while serving on the Golan Heights. The libel suit against Rabbi Goren was filed through the Jerusalem law firm of Yanovsky and Son which has been involved in past legal actions against the Chief Rabbi. (By David Landau)