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Rabbi Advises Administration Not to Use Jewish Criticism of Begin Government As Reason to Reduce Aid

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The Reagan Administration was advised today that it must never use American Jewish criticism of the government of Premier Menachem Begin as a reason to reduce U.S. support for Israel.

“Jewish commitment to the State of Israel has never been stronger,” Rabbi Arnold Goodman, president of the Rabbinical Assembly, declared in a statement read on his behalf at an all day social action conference called by the Assembly to discuss U.S. Israel policy and American domestic problems. Goodman, who was scheduled to address the conference, was unable to attend. He is also the spiritual leader of Congregation Ahavath Achim in Atlanta, Ga.

In his statement, Goodman said: Our Administration should not be misled by any discussions within the Jewish community regarding Prime Minister Begin’s policies. At no time does this imply a reduction of our support for Israel.”

Continuing, Goodman stated; “We are deeply gratified by American support for Israel at the United Nations, including the statement made by Secretary of State George Shultz (that the U.S. would withdraw from the General Assembly if Israel were suspended) and President Reagan’s recent remarks to the Arab leaders to begin direct negotiations with Israel.”

On the other hand, Goodman said, “such a call to the Arab nations must be followed up by intensive U.S. diplomatic discussions, making these nations understand that they must accept Israel without any preconditions.”

The conference, which took place at the Park Avenue Synagogue, launched the Rabbinical Assembly’s mobilization of its 1,200 Conservative rabbis and 1.5 million members into a more active moral force responding to domestic and international concerns. The program will be directed by Rabbi Myrom Fenster of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center of Roslyn, N. Y. He is the chairman of the Assembly’s social action committee.

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