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UJA Leaders Tell Shamir That Jewish Status Decisions Could Effect Funding

Premier Yitzhak Shamir was told by a delegation of United Jewish Appeal leaders from the U.S. Tuesday that the long-festering “Who is a Jew” issue could have profound effects on American Jewish solidarity with Israel, including fund-raising.

The delegation, headed by Martin Stein of Milwaukee, national chairman of UJA, stressed that the matter should be resolved by rabbis and the leaders of the various religious denominations within Judaism, not by politicians. (See story above for background.)

Stein told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the delegation pointed out to Shamir a potential link between fund-raising and commitment on the one hand and the “Who is a Jew” issue on the other. “This goes right to the kishke,” he said.

He said the issue brought into question the legitimacy of the Judaism not only of a small number of converts who may contemplate aliya, but of millions of American Jews, their leaders and rabbis.