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Israel Embassy Can Neither Confirm nor Deny That Begin Will Meet with Falwell Next Week

September 2, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Israel Embassy said today it could neither confirm nor deny reports that Premier Menachem Begin will meet with the Rev. Jerry Falwell and other members of the Moral Majority in Washington next week. A spokesperson said that no meetings could be confirmed until all details were completed for Begin’s visit with President Reagan here Sept. 9-10.

The Detroit News reported this week that the Rev. David Wood, Michigan leader of the Moral Majority, said he and other members of the fundamentalist Christian political group had been invited to the meeting with Begin on Sept. 10.

Begin reportedly telephoned Falwell in July to explain to American Christians the reasons for Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s reactor on June 7. Begin had met with Falwell and other members of the Moral Majority during one of his meetings with President Carter. Begin also presented Falwell with one of the 100 Jabotinsky medals at the 1980 Jabotinsky Centennial Dinner in New York last November.


Meanwhile, the Moral Majority came under heavy fire from the president of Yale University, A. Bartlett Giamatti. In a letter to the 1,267 members of Yale’s entering freshmen class, Giamatti contended that the atmosphere fostered by the Moral Majority, whose members profess to believe that “they and they alone posses the truth,” had created a resurgence of “hatred in public by the mad or the malevolent.”

Giamatti quoted the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith as having reported that the number of known anti-Semitic episodes in the United States — vandalism, arson and cemetery desecrations — had climbed by 192 percent last year, from 129 in 1979 to 377 in 1980. He added that “the tip of the iceberg grew in a way that sickened all decent Americans.”

In his letter, which was read to the freshman class because he was recuperating at home from an operation, Giamatti characterized the Moral Majority and other conservative groups as “peddlers of coercion” in “a radical assault” on pluralism, civil rights and religious and political freedom in the United States. He also cited the spreading activities of the Ku Klux Klan, with its “paramilitary camps and training activities in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina and Texas.” He described these activities as a form of “domestic terrorism.”

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