JERUSALEM (Feb. 5)
Premier Menachem Begin has denounced as “intolerable” acts of vandalism against Christian institutions in Jerusalem and pledged that “The authorities will do the utmost to prevent” their recurrence.
The statement, issued by the Premier last night, referred to a series of recent incidents of vandalism by Jewish militants. They included the breaking of stained glass windows at the Benedictine Dormition Basilica on Mt. Zion; smearing a bookstore selling the New Testament and Christian writings with the Hebrew words, in red and black paint, “Missionaries Get Out” and “Bloodsuckers”, and the smearing of anti-Soviet slogans on the Russian Orthodox Church in downtown Jerusalem.
Mayor Teddy Kollek has condemned these acts and the municipality has paid for repairs. Officials here have blamed the Jewish Defense League. Begin’s statement said:
“Following reports which have recently been published here concerning a number of incidents of vandalism affecting church properties in Jerusalem, I wish to state that the authorities will not tolerate acts of this kind. By the laws of Israeli all, faiths enjoy absolute freedom of worship, protection of their property and freedom of access to their shrines. The Government of Israel upholds these principles in the fullest measure, just as it has always done in the past in the spirit of respect for all the faiths represented in Jerusalem.
“Indeed, we take pride that since the reunification of our capital city, Jerusalem has enjoyed the harmony of co-existence and mutual toleration. The authorities therefore will do their utmost to prevent the recurrence of such intolerable criminal acts.”
UAHC ASSAILS VIGILANTE ACTIONS
(In New York, Rabbi Balfour Brickner, director of the department of interreligious affairs of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) denounced the Jewish “vigilantes” responsible for the vandalism in Jerusalem. “Those responsible for those outrageous acts are an embarrassing blot on the Jewish community of the entire world,” the
(“In a land where Arab terrorism violates every shred of humanity, Jewish terrorism is equally contemptible. The behavior of these vigilantes, allegedly members of the Jewish Defense League, and their misguided motives evoke the revulsion and disgust of the Jewish community. These criminals do not serve Judaism, and they do not save Jews. There can be no justification nor defense of their activities and when apprehended they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
(The Reform rabbi stressed that “civil and religious rights for all – Christians, Jews and others — must be guaranteed and protected in Israel.” He said “We are gratified that responsible authorities in Jerusalem, led by Mayor Teddy Kollek, have forcefully and publicly condemned these barbarous acts.”)