Shapiro Says Labor Zionists Support Israel but Have Right to Criticize

Dr. Judah J. Shapiro, president of the Labor Zionist Alliance, declared here last night that “we will support Israel politically, morally and financially, but at the same time we reserve the right to say that we are unhappy with some of the expressions of the Israeli government.” He referred specifically to the possible agreement between a Likud-led government and the Aguda Israel faction on religious issues which would “impose the tyranny of the 15 percent Orthodox over the 85 percent non-Orthodox Jews in Israel.”

Dr. Shapiro addressed 600 Labor Zionists at a birthday tribute to him at the New York Hilton Hotel sponsored jointly by the LZA and the National Committee for Labor Israel which Shapiro also heads. The testimonial resulted in contributions of nearly $100,000 to the Israel Histadrut campaign in support of the health, educational and social welfare programs of Histadrut in Israel.

Shapiro described the recent election results in Israel as “not a victory for Likud” but “a Labor defeat.” He noted that “Likud did not get a majority of the votes and can reign only through a coalition. The paradox is that the Labor Alignment was supported by the white collar and middle class elements, while Likud, a right-wing party, gained the support of the poor people and blue collar workers. Maybe there was something wrong with Labor Zionism in Israel,” Shapiro said.

He suggested that “One of the corrupting influences was the catering to American Jews of the upper middle class, counting dollars rather than people. Labor strayed too far from its own social ideals and the image of Israel has been tarnished,” Shapiro said.

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