A series of charges against four leaders of Brit Kanaim, the underground Orthodox group in Jerusalem, was presented today by the Assistant State Attorney before the Chief Magistrate here, who ordered that the four be detained for another eight days in order to enable the police authorities to complete their investigations.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet today appointed a three-man committee consisting of Ministers Pinchus Lavon, Pinchus Rosen and Moshe Shapiro to investigate the circum stances surrounding the detention of the underground members. Minister of Police Bohor Shotroot was instructed to investigate complaints that police mistreated some of the arrested men. A government spokesman revealed that one police sergeant has been suspended and faces disciplinary action on charges of having maltreated a prisoner.
The charges presented thus far claim that the Brit Kanaim group planned to break into the Ministry of Defense and destroy all material concerning the mobilization of religious women. The four leaders of the underground organization are also charged with conspiracy against the state by planning to prevent a discussion in Parliament on the mobilization bill by throwing a bomb into the Parliament building.
The indictment contains nine other charges, including one of possession of arms and of training with arms, The four leaders are: Mordecai Aliahu Salman, Eliahu Raful, Yehuda Ridder and Noah Wermosser. They are between 20 and 25 years of ago. Four members of the Agudath Israel youth organization who had been held as suspected were released last night by the police.
Leibele Weissfish, leader of the extreme Orthodox Neturei Karta group which does not recognize the Jewish State on the grounds that the Messiah alone can re-establish the Jewish state, was today sentenced to six monke’ imprisonment for crossing into Jordan in order to avoid conscription into the Israel Army.
GOVERNMENT HAS MORE EVIDENCE THAN IT PRESENTED, SPOKESMAN SAYS
The Israel Government has more evidence against the members of Brit Kanaim, the underground movement which planned to blow up the Parliament building, than it cares to make public, a government spokesman today said. Answering Parliamentary and other critics of the government’s handling of the case, the spokesman said that today’s open court hearings of charges against some of the leaders of the group had proved that the government has not “exaggerated” the activities of the religious underground.
He denied that either the government or the Mapai Party had identified the members of Brit Kanaim with the entire religious movement. He asserted, however, that the constant attempts by Religious Bloc leaders to ” whitewash this small fanatical group might create the impression that the Orthodox leaders identify themselves with the members of Brit Kanaim.” The spokesman lashed out against the “unholy allianco”–of the five parties ranging from the Communist left to the Herut right–which formed during the Parliamentary debate on the issue, insisting that this only proves that “pro-election motives have gained the upper hand over national responsibility.”
The spokesman assorted that the government was “not happy” to have had to use the British-enacted emergency defense regulations against the religious underground, but that it had no choice since the substitute legislation which it planned to have enacted by this time had been blocked by inter-party “machinations.” Because of this state of affairs the government used the emergency measures in only exceptional circumstances such as the murder of U.N. Mediator Count Folke Bernadette and the recent bombing plot. If the British laws were repealed and there were no substitute legislation, he said, the government would be hampered in combatting such problems as Arab ###afiltration and the administration of military control in certain areas.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.