Sephardic Chief Rabbi
Supports Plan to Ease
Conversions in Israel
JERUSALEM (JTA)—Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Itzhak Nissim on Monday called for
the creation of a special "bet din"—rabbinical tribunal — to devote itself exclusively to the
handling of conversion cases. Rabbi Nissim's statement was the first public response from the
rabbinate to the cabinet decision to investigate ways to speed up the conversion process. It
presently takes about three years. Rabbi Nissim said the proposed tribunal would gather valuable
experience and hasten the process considerably. He made a similar proposal two years ago, but
it was rejected by the Supreme Rabbinical Coun cil, mainly because of opposition from the Ash-
kenazic rabbis. The cabinet has named a ministe rial committee to discuss the matter of conver-
sions with the chief rabbinate. It consistsof Minister of Justice Yaacov Shimshon Shapiro, of
the Labor Party and the ministers of interior- and religious affairs, Moshe Shapiro and Zerach
Warhaftig, both of the National Religious Party.
Detailed story of ruling on "Who Is a Jew" on this page
THE JEWISH NEWS
New Left Role
Vol. LVI, No. 21
Review of Jewish News
Michigan's Only English-Jewish Newspaper — Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle
Policy on Israel
17515 W. 9 Mile Rd., Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. 48075 — 356-8400 February 6, 1970 $7.00 Per Year; This Issue 20c
'Who's a Jew' and Law of Return
Matters Linked in Decisions
Overruling Israel High Court
JERUSALEM (JTA — The Knesset Tuesday easily defeated a
motion of no-confidence filed against the government by the opposi-
tion HaOlam Hazeh faction over the proposed amendments to the
Law of Return. The vote was 73-5.
But the chamber was thrown into an uproar when Shalom
Cohen of HaOlam Hazeh dramatically tore up his identity card in
a symbolic protest against the amendment which establishes religious
criteria as the sole determinant of who is entitled to J e w i s h.
The tiny (two-man) faction demanded that nationality be deleted
from population registration forms and identity cards. The speaker
of the Knesset, Reuben Barket, threatened to take legal action
against Cohen for violating the decorum of the chamber. But legal
experts said the threat was an idle one because the Knesset member
enjoys parliamentary immunity.
Yuri Avneri, the Tel Aviv magazine publisher who heads HaOlam
Hazeh, argued that religion and nationality are a personal affair
and should not be subjected to prying officials or listed on personal
Minister of Justice Yaacov Shimshon Shapiro declined to comment
on grounds that the matter will be debated in the Knesset next week
when the amendment to the Law of Return comes up for a vote,
but he criticized HaOlam Hazeh for bringing up a motion of no con-
dence on a measure that has not yet been discussed in the Knesset.
HaOlam Hazeh was supported in the voting by two Communist
factions. Abstentions were recorded by the State List, headed by
former Premier David Ben-Gurion, the Free Center and the ultra-
Orthodox Agudat Israel.
JERUSALEM (JTA)—The cabinet Tuesday approved and sent to the Knesset draft
legislation that will establish religious criteria as the only valid instrument for determin-
ing who is a Jew. The measure was worked out by a ministerial committee on legislative
matters in line with last week's cabinet decision to amend the Law of Return so that the
non-Jewish spouses and children of -immigrants receive equal rights but cannot be reg-
istered as Jews.
The draft meets Orthodox demands to nullify last month's Supreme Court ruling
that persons may be Jewish by nationality even if they are not Jewish by religion.
But it is almost certain to raise Orthodox hackles because it would accept conver-
sion to Judaism performed by a non-Orthodox rabbis. The bill that emerged from the com-
mittee goes beyond the original cabinet proposals by extending equal privileges to the
grandchildren of mixed marriage immigrant families.
It also stipulates that the registrar of population must accept the immigrants'
statements unless he has documentary or other valid proof that the statements are incor-
rect. This will place the burden of proof on the ministry of interior rather than on the
migrant in cases where "Jewishness" is in doubt.
The Orthodox National Religious Party opposed the liberal element in the amend-
ments to the Law of Return. The minister for religious affairs, Zerach Warhaftig, who is a
member of the ministerial committee that produced the draft, tried to have them de-
leted. He also demanded that the bill affirm the exclusivity of the Orthodox rabbinate
in matters of conversion but was rejected by his colleagues.
According to Jewish religious law, a person is Jewish only if born of a Jewish
mother or converted to Judaism.
The Orthodox insist that only Orthodox rabbis are qualified to perform conversions
and refuse to recognize conversions performed by rabbis of the Conservative and Re-
(Continued on Page 5)
form branches of Judaism.
New York's Snub of Pompidou May Bring
Shortening of French President's Itinerary
LONDON (JTA)—French officials are considering whether to shorten President
Georges Pompidou's visit to the United States and omit New York City from his itiner-
ary in order to avoid demonstrations by Jewish groups against France's arms sales to
Libya, it was reported here.
But other sources in Paris said the French gov-
ernment was in no way disturbed by the refusal of
Mayor John V. Lindsay of New York to extend an offi-
cial welcome to the French chief of state.
President Pompidou is scheduled to arrive in
Washington Feb. 24 as the guest of President Richard
31. Nixon. His itinerary will take him to Cape Ken-
nedy, San Francisco, Chicago and New York where
he is due March 2 for one day. In New York he is
scheduled to lunch with Secretary General U Thant
of the United Nations and will be guest of honor at a
dinner party to be given by a French American organ-
Mayor Lindsay promised that President Pompi-
dou would not receive the gala official welcome that
New York normally extends to visiting foreign digni-
taries. The welcome usually includes a ticker-tape par
ads up Broadway and an official reception at City Hall. The mayor made his promise
In a letter to Rep. Bertram Podell, a New York Democrat who is one of the major
congressional critics of France's Mideastern policies.
According to reports from Paris, the official French attitude is that "If Mr. Lindsay
his right. This does not affect the American
does not want to be courteous, that is (The
Washington Post reported that President
government and it does not affect us."
J. Goldberg, former United States ambassador
Pompidou had refused to see Arthur president
of the American Jewish Committee.
to the United Nations and honorary
Goldberg was in Paris last week to attend a conference on the plight of Jews in
the Arab countries. According to Washington Post correspondent Jonathan C. Randal,
ho wanted to solicit Pompidou's support for humanitarian efforts to help Jews in Syria,
Iraq and Libya and other Arab countries.)
(Continued on Page 30)
17 Michigan Congressmen Sign Names
to Declarations in Support of Israel
All congressmen in the Tri-County area, and most from outstate, have
indicated their support of direct negotiations between Israel and her Arab neighbors,
it was reported this week by Jewish Community Council President Lawrenc-e. Gubow.
Most of the congressmen were contacted in Washington, D.C. by thk Detroit
delegation to the National Emergency Conference on Middle East peace. They signed
a declaration affirming that "The parties to the conflict must be parties to the peace
achieved by means of direct, unhampered negotiations."
The declaration further indicated "our support for the democratic state of
Israel which has unremittingly appealed for peace for the past 21 years" and asserted
"Our declaration of friendship for the state of Israel is consistent with the
uninterrupted support given by every American President and the Congress of the
United States since the establishment of the state of Israel."
Those congressmen not contacted during the emer-
gency conference earlier indicated in congressional
resolutions their support of the principle of direct ne-
Signers of the declarations, in addition to Sena-
tors Philip A. Hart and Robert Griffin, are:
Reps. John Conyers Jr., John D. Dingell, Charles
Diggs Jr., William D. Ford, Martha Griffiths and Lu-
cien Nedzi, Wayne County; Jack McDonald and Wil-
liam Broomfield, Oakland County; and James G.
O'Hara, Macomb County.
Congressmen from outstate who signed the dec-
larations are Reps. Donald Riegle, Flint; Garry Brown,
Kalamazoo; Elford A. Cederberg, Bay City; Gerald
R. Ford, Grand Rapids; James Harvey, Saginaw, and
Edward Hutchinson, Benton Harbor.
A total of 226 congressmen have signed the so-
called Celler statement on Mid East peace, and 63
(Continued on Page 10)