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December 14, 1962 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1962-12-14

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be based on the fact that he aspect" of all Jews, he said,
once 'was, or may still consider was "that we cannot cut our-
himself to be, Jewish. This deci- •selves off from the historical
sion should make abundantly past" and still remain a Jew."
clear that, just as all Israelis
"Whether religious, non-re-
are not Jews, so all Jews are ligious or anti-religious, all Jews
not Israelis. It is possible to be are bound to the Jewish peo-
a Christian or a Moslem and a ple's heritage," he added and,
citizens of Israel; just as it is on this basis, the answer to the
possible to be an American question as to whether Rufei-
Catholic. To be a Jew, is to be sen could be considered a Jew
a member of a religious and/or was "no." He referred to the
an ethnic group. Only in Israel convert's work in saving Jews in
does the word 'Jew' involve Nazi-occupied Poland and said
nationality. For far too long, this posed a "phychological diffi-
this important distinction has cultor." But he insisted - that the
been confused, sometimes pur- convert's "personal merits" were
posefully, by those who have not involved in the judgment.
consistently tried to raise the
The lone dissenter was Justice
specter of dual loyalty. It was a Haim Cohn, who held that the
false issue when initially prom- Law of Return should not be
ulgated, and it is even more interpreted to permit rejection
obviously a false issue in the of a convert's application and
light of this decision."
the "denial of his rights" as a
Only a spokesman for the Jew under that law. He said the
Council for Judaism found occa- law was meant to grant any per-
sion for another diatribe against son the right to declare himself
Israel in the Israel Supreme a Jew wishing to return to his
Court decision.
country, and that the govern-
ment's argument that a convert
4-1 Court Decision Rejects
ceased to be a Jew had no basis
Convert's Citizenship Bid
Justice Moshe Landau op-
Israel Supreme Court rejected
in a four to one ruling, the ap- posed the petition, even under
plication of a Polish-born Jew- the convert's argument that
ish convert to Catholicism who Israel was not a theocratic
applied for Israeli Jewish citi- state but the product of the
Zionist movement. Accepting
that argument he held, "one
The petitioner was Oswald must accept Herzl's viewpoint
Rufeisen, who became a Car- in rejecting Zionist member-
Melite monk in Poland as ship for a converted Jew." He
Brother Daniel, and who emi- also held that the Law of Re-
grated to Israel. He now lives turn was intended primarily
in a monastery in Haifa. He ap- for Jews outside of Israel and
Britain Will Pay
plied for citizenship under the that for such Jews it was
of Return, which permits axiomatic that a convert
Claimants for Losses Law
any Jew to become a citizen of alienated himself from the
in Suez Operation
Jewish people by his conver-
- The justices drew on Jewish sion.
(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
religious law, Israeli law, Jew-
to The Jewish News)
Justice Eliahu Mani stated he
LONDON — The British gov- ish history and Zionist princi- concurred. Justice Zvi Berinson

ernment announced Tuesday_
held he was "reluctantly bound"
night it woud give, full payment Justice- Moshe Silberg, president by the Law of Return to reject
to about 90 per cent of claim- of the Court, spoke for the ma- the petition despite the fact that
- ants for losses in Egypt -arising jority. He held that .a convert he considered Brother Daniel a
from the nationalization and was not a Jew under the Law of Jew by every criterion, refer-
confiscation of British prOperty Return, and contended that this ring to the convert's Zionist
following the 1955 Suez opera- view was not a theocratic ap- work as a youth, his persistence
proach. -
tion against Egypt. .
in considering himself a Jew,
He said that, under Jewish after conversion, and his state-
The claimants include a sub-
religious law, a convert to an- ment in applying in Poland for
stantial number of Jews.
other religion is a Jew—but permission to migrate to Israel
To make the payments possi-
ble, the government said it that the rejection was based that he wanted to return to the
would pay into an Egyptian on the Law of Return as a land of his fathers. However,
compensation fund about secular law. He held that "ac- Justice Berinson ruled, the Is-
$15,400,000 in addition to the cepting -a convert as a Jew" rael law of naturalization had a
amount already in that fund in Israel "would mean a dis- clause which stated that a per-
tortion of Jewish history," as son who in good faith declared
amounting to $82,600,000.
The total to be used for the well as an act of desecrating himself a Jew should be so
payment of such claimS will "the name and content of the registered in Israel "unless he
term Jew." The "common adopted another religion."
therefore exceed $98,000,000.
A highlight of the ruling was
Mike Roberts says:
the majority rejection of the
government's thesis that the
issue could not be divorced
from Jewish religious law (Hala-
cha) which holds religion and
nationality as "indivisible in
Judaism." Justice Silberg wrote
that the contemporary view on
that issue, as expressed in the
Law of the Return, permitted
only "a sharp and clear-cut no"
to the argument by Rufeisen
that he was a Jew by nationality.

Jewish public opinion, in this
country and in Israel, strongly
endorsed the Israel Supreme
Court's decision rejecting the
application for Israeli citizen-
ship made by a Jewish convert
to Catholicism, who asked to be
admitted as a Catholic of the
Jewish nationality.
The decision was endorsed by
the entire Israeli press. In New
York it was approved by the
Synagogue Council of America,
which represents the Reform,
Conservative and Orthodox
•groups in this country, as well
as by the Union of American
Hebrew Congregations and
other religious spokesmen.
Rabbi Julius Mark, president
of the Synagogue Countil, de-
clared: "Jewish identity implies
a profession in our millenia-
old faith. It means involvement
in the historic destiny of our
people as a whole being an in-
tegral part of the community of
those who are committed to
Judaism. Brother Daniel by
voluntarily disowning the Jew-
ish faith, has severed his bond
with the historic Jewish com-
munity throughout the world."
Rabbi Balfour Brickner, di-
rector of the Union of American
Hebrew Congregations i .Commis-
sion: on Interfaith Activities,.
said: "It should be made clear
that the decision in no way pre-
cludes the possibility of Brother
Daniel's becoming an Israeli
citizen. It only says that his ap-
plication for citizenship cannot

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U.S., Israel Sign
Extradition Treaty

United States and Israel signed
an extradition treaty covering
felonies demanding two or more
years' imprisonment but not
pertaining to political offenses.
In the omission of political
.offenses from the scope of the
agreement, the treaty followed
the pattern of similar treaties
between the United States and
various nations.
The treaty was signed at the
State Department by Secretary
of State Dean Rusk and Ambas-
sador Avraham Harman for Is-
rael. Negotiations had been un-
der way for about a year. The
treaty must now be ratified by
the U.S. Senate and the Israeli
cabinet. Ratification is expected
in 1963.



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9 - THE DETROIT. JEWISH NEWS — Friday, December 14, 1962

Public Opinion in This Country and Israel
Favors Israel Verdict Denying Citizenship
Rights to 'Catholic of Jewish Nationality'

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