NEW YORK (Apr. 19)
Jewish youths demonstrated today for and against the Gush Emunim and Jewish settlements on the West Bank at two separate rallies near the United Nations. About 200 youngsters, mostly yeshiva students, gathered in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to shout and chant support for the militant Orthodox nationalist group in Israel which insists that the Judaea and Samaria regions belong to the Jewish State.
Four blocks away, about 75 young members of the recently formed Socialist Zionist Union, assembled at the Isaiah Wall, denounced the Gush Emunim as an obstacle to peace in the Middle East. The two rallies were occasioned by a march through the West Bank by about 20,000 Gush Emunim followers and their supporters.
ISSUE IS THE JEWISH STATE
At the larger rally, Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, declared that Arab refusal to come to terms with the existence of a Jewish State, not Jewish set-
He and other speakers, who included Rabbi Avraham Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, and Hebrew University Prof. Benjamin Fraenkel, currently a visiting lecturer at Princeton, denounced the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, William Scranton, for his recent criticism at the Security Council of Jewish settlement in the occupied territories.
The pro-Gush Emunim rally was organized by Noam Hamishmeret Hatzeira, the religious Zionist youth movement affiliated with the young leadership faction of Israel’s National Religious Party, and Yavneh, the national Jewish religious students association. The youngsters carried signs reading “The West Bank is Israel’s, No More Retreats” and “Samaria and Judaea Are Jewish.”
AN OBSTACLE TO PEACE
The protest rally, in which members of Habonim and Hashomer Hatzair participated, took the view that the Gush Emunim are a “small minority of right-wing extremists…who represent a dangerous obstacle to peace.” Ed Freedman, a member of the SZU, told the JTA that the demonstration was held “to show our opposition to the settlement and march by the Gush Emunim.”
He said the Gush policies constitute “a moral and political obstacle” to a just solution of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Participants carried placards reading “Israel Yes, Territories No” and “Aliya. Not Territories.” Re-enforced police units were present at both rallies, the larger number of them at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. No incidents were reported at either rally.