Reactions by Jewish Leaders

Leaders of American Jewish organizations lauded today the results of Israel’s national election as providing another demonstration of the democratic process at work in Israel.

Rabbi Joseph P. Sternstein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, declared that the ZOA “wholeheartedly endorsed” the call for a national unity government by Likud. Adding that the ZOA has long been an advocate of such a government, Sternstein urged the American Jewish community “to give every encouragement to the people of Israel to close ranks and bring about national unity to withstand pressures that would force Israel to make sacrifices without the attainment of a full and lasting peace.”

The United Zionists-Revisionists declared that as an “affiliate of the Likud in the United States,” it saluted Likud leader Menachem Beigin and his parliamentary colleagues” in this glorious hour of victory.” Asserting that “the socialist Labor Party has been defeated and its policies rejected” after more than three decades, the Revisionists said” a change of administration was necessary to restore stability and direction to a country beset by scandal, a vacillating foreign policy and an uncontrolled economy.”

Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said the Presidents Conference congratulated Israel’s leaders and pledged to give them “the support and commitment that the American Jewish community has given since the day the Jewish State was born.” Schindler added that “as new leaders take the helm” in Israel, “we renew the sense of unity and identification that form the indissoluble ties that bind American Jewry with the people of Israel.”

Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, American Jewish Congress President, said the apparent decision of Israeli voters to change political leadership was made “freely and peacefully–in sharp contrast to the purges and coups that have marked political change among Israel’s Arab neighbors.” Richard Maass, American Jewish Committee President, called the emergence of the Likud as Israel’s leading party an expression of the “democratic process at work” and expressed confidence that the Jews of Israel would now “close ranks” and continue in a unified way their search for peace.

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