NEW YORK (Jul. 17)
Four members of the Jewish Defense League took over the office of the United Zionist Revisionists of America (Herut) in midtown Manhattan this morning in protest against the policies of Premier Menachem Begin of Israel.
Dov Becker, spokesman for the JDL, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a telephone call from the Herut office, that “we are demanding that Herut gain the immediate release of (JDL founder) Rabbi Meir Kahane and we are demanding that Herut return to the principles of (Zeev) jabotinsky by demanding that Begin annex immediately all the territories now held by Israel.” Asked what Herut here can do about this, Becker said “we are certain Herut can do what we are demanding.”
He said there were two people in the Herut office and when they were asked to leave they complied. The JDL in recent weeks also took over the offices of Interns for Peace, a program which works in Israel for Jewish-Arab amity, the American Friends of Hebrew University and the Hebrew University.
After a little more than three hours the JDL left the Herut office voluntarily after Herut issued a statement which Becker described as “satisfactory” and which he said would be sent to Begin. The statement said, in part, that Herut holds Kahane in great esteem and “we profoundly regret the fact of his imprisonment and express our sincere hope that he will soon be set free.” Kahane has been held in Israel for nearly two months. He was taken into custody following actions on the West Bank which Israeli authorities termed provocative.
“On the question of Hebron,” the statement continued, “the Herut movement has always believed that all of Eretz Yisrael constitutes the Jewish homeland and no part of it should therefore fall under foreign sovereignty or domination. Every Jew has the right to live in Hebron as in any other part of Eretz Yisrael.” A Herut spokesperson said “We are not going to press charges” against the four JDL members. “We support the right of Jews to express their opinions. Hopefully, this will not always take this form.”