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Leading Clerics Urge Christians to Rally Behind Israel, Jewish People

Christians throughout the world were urged yesterday by a group of prominent church leaders to rally behind Israel and the Jewish people who are endangered by “ruthless acts of violence. “

In a “Statement of Concern, ” the Catholic, Evangelical and Protestant theologians deplored “the actions of those who try to isolate Israel from the family of nations”; affirmed the United Nations as an international forum but condemned those who “manipulate its agencies for their anti-Israel campaigns”; called for a solution “as just to the Palestinian Arabs as it is to the Israelis” but pointed out that “provocative and destructive” pronouncements and actions by the Palestine Liberation Organization “nullify constructive efforts for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East”; and declared “our support for a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel” and commended “the exemplary fashion” in which Israel has assured access to the holy places and protected religious rights.

The statement, representing the “voice of conscience” of “multitudes of Christians,” was adopted unanimously at a “Religious Convocation in Support of Israel” hosted by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith at its national headquarters and the Halloran House Hotel.

In the principal address to the opening session, Dr. Paul Von Buren, professor of religious studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, declared that support of Israel is “a moral imperative” for Christians. He declared that Christians “are called by God to Israel’s support.”

He described Israel as “God’s experimental workshop” and said this “has been shown to us by God’s action in rescuing a particular band of slaves and by bringing them into a particular place and commending them to live in that land in a particular way.”

SAYS ISRAEL IS SYMBOL OF HOPE

The Rev. Edward Flannery, advisory committee member of the Secretariat for Catholic-Jewish Relations of the National Council of Catholic Bishops, said in a “Statement of Hope” that Israel is “a symbol of hope” to Christians and Jews.

He declared that attempts by Arab propaganda and Soviet imperialism to ghettoize Israel and make it a pariah nation must be resisted. He asserted that “it is paramount in the face of this massive opposition which Israel suffers that those who see clearly rally to Israel’s side, fight the forces of anti-Zionism and give assurances to the Jewish people that they are not friendless and will not have to go it alone.”

In a similar “Statement of Hope, ” Dr. Walter Harrelson, professor of Old Testament at the Vanderbilt University School in Tenn., noted that the National Council of Churches is preparing a final policy statement on the Middle East and expressed the “hope that the leadership of the churches of this land will hold fast to the support of the State of Israel, will never waiver in that support, will reaffirm and deepen their commitment of faith in the lengths that bind Judaism and Christianity together.”

Participating in a prayer service at the Isaiah Wall opposite the United Nations, Sister Rose Therig, professor of education at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N. J., declared that “with the National Coalition of American Nuns, I strongly support the current status of Jerusalem under Israeli jurisdiction,” She added that “I oppose any other form of control.”

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