Prominent U.S. Jews Back Begin

A number of prominent American Jews published a full page ad in the Jerusalem Post yesterday backing the Israeli government’s peace policy and supporting Premier Menachem Begin by name. The signatories included Max Fisher of Detroit; Raymond Epstein of Chicago; Rabbis Alexander Schindler, Herschel Schachter and Israel Miller; Robert Russel of Miami Fla.; and other prominent Jews. Schindler was the only one of the 33 signatories who was a member of the party of U.S. citizens–mainly Jews–invited by Vice President Walter Mondale to accompany him to Israel.

The ad was clearly timed to coincide with Mondale’s visit. It called on the U.S. government to “encourage Egypt to return to the negotiating table…to encourage direct negotiations between Egypt and Israel rather than setting unreasonable demands upon one of the parties….We hope that Vice President Mondale’s visit to Israel will signal a return by the American government to its traditional position of strong support for a secure Israel….We expect that Mr. Mondale will learn firsthand of the earnest and diligent efforts Israel is making on behalf of peace.”

The ad said that its signatories believed they expressed “the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of American Jewry” in supporting the Israel government and “commending Prime Minister Begin and his government for tireless efforts on behalf of peace….”

As co-chairmen of a “Committee, ” Gary P. Ratner, a national communal leader, and Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, signed at the top of the list of signatories. Other committee members were Ivan J. Novik, chairman of the ZOA national executive committee; Harry S. Taubenfeld, chairman of the U.S. Herut; and Gerald S. Strober, chairman of “The Committee of American Jews in Support of Prime Minister Begin.”

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