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Israel President Modifies Proposal on ‘nazi Murderers’ in Prayers

March 18, 1960
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Varying interpretations given in the Israel press to a proposal from President Ben-Zvi for a change in the proposed standard prayer for dead in behalf of the victims of Nazism prompted the President today to send another letter to Rabbi Jacob Toledano, Minister of Religious Affairs, to clarify the proposal.

In his first letter, the President asked that the words “German murderers” be replaced with the words “Nazi murderers.” In making the request, the President said the proposed change would extend the prayer to include the Nazis of other countries who had participated in the killing of Jews. He said also that the phrase “German murderers” ignored the fact there had been anti-Nazis among the Germans and that it indicted the whole German people.

In his second letter, the President explained that the original text did not specify the identity of “the murderers of our brethren” and that, in his first proposal, he had meant to assure that the prayer would “make express mention of German Nazis, enemies of Israel” and also that the prayer would “not ignore those who did not belong to the German nation but who also shed the blood of our brethren. ” The President added, in his second letter, that to clarify the question, he was now proposing that the phrase in question read: “by the German Nazis, their allies and satellites.”

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