BRUSSELS (Jul. 8)
Yitzhak Rabin, in one of his first public addresses since being asked last week to form a new Israeli government, told delegates to a conference on anti-Semitism that Israel could best combat hostility toward Jews worldwide by setting an example in how it treats its own minority.
“I believe we have to prove that once we are the sovereign power, we have to behave visa-vis the minority and other religious groups in a way we expect others to respect us,” he said.
Rabin told participants at the conference, sponsored by the World Jewish Congress, that Israel should set “certain moral standards of behavior” toward its Arab population. He spoke Wednesday via satellite from Tel Aviv.
The Labor Party leader also said one of his first priorities will be to advance the peace talks toward Palestinian autonomy in the territories.
“I see in this issue one of the most important goals, and an attainable one, that might change the whole atmosphere in the Middle East,” he said.
Leonid Kravchuk, president of Ukraine, in his own address on Tuesday, quoted the Talmud to explain that he regretted that Jews were leaving Ukraine but that all people have the right to live where they choose.
And Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews, called for cooperative Catholic-Jewish efforts to fight anti-Semitism and racism on the national and international level.
The prelate stressed that the historical position of the Catholic Church on Jews and Judaism “called for an act of ‘teshuvah’ (repentance) and of reconciliation on our part.”
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He said that the teachings of the church must be updated to reflect the new Catholic attitude, which regards Jews as “our elder brothers in the faith of Abraham.
“We must explore every possible area of cooperation with the Jewish people,” he said.
Cassidy reaffirmed that “anti-Semitism, as well as all forms of racism, are a sin against God and humanity.”
At the closing session of its Conference on Anti-Semitism and Prejudice in a Changing World, WJC leaders resolved to create new offices and resources to combat anti-Semitism “and its related evils.”
WJC leaders said that they will be working with the World Zionist Organization, Israel’s quasi-governmental agency, to improve the teaching of Jewish history in schools, to monitor ultranationalist political movements worldwide and to monitor anti-Semitism in international agencies affiliated with the United Nations.
Delegates to the conference passed a resolution calling on the European Community and the United Nations “to use all means at their disposal to halt the armed conflict and the loss of life taking place in the territories of the former country of Yugoslavia.”
Other speakers included Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. representative to the United Nations; Judge Israel Finestein of the Board of Deputies of British Jews; and Luis Alberto Lacalle, the president of Uruguay.