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Steg Heads French Jewish Group

Prof. Adolphe Steg, a French surgeon, was elected today president of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, one of the oldest Jewish organizations. Steg, 61, replaces Jules Brunschwig who has headed the Alliance since 1976 and has decided to retire.

The Alliance Israelite Universelle was founded in 1860 to propagate modern educational methods with a heavy accent on Judaism and French culture. At the time of its centenary the organization ran over two dozen schools with 50,000 students in eight countries. Many of these schools are run with the active help of the governments concerned, including those of Arab countries.

Steg, a former president of the Representative Council of Major French Jewish Organizations, is a prominent surgeon and heads the urology department at one of Paris’ major hospitals. A Knight in the Legion of Honor he has long played a prominent role in French Jewish life. It is believed that he will give a new impetus to the Alliance which some of its critics say has been in a partial lethargy in recent years. Many of its educational activities were curtailed after the independence of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria and the change of regimes in Iran. Brunschwig succeeded Nobel Prize winner Rene Cassin who took over the Alliance presidency at the request of General Charles de Gaulle in 1944. De Gaulle believed the Alliance could play an important role in the propagation of French culture in North Africa and Third World countries.

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