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December 20, 1985 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-12-20

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32

Friday, December 20, 1985 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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OP-ED

Atop Jerusalem

Continued from Page 4

ultra-religious Jews' fears of the sides could negotiate an end to
Mormons' intent. "They see in the stalemate. However, any
settlement would demand the
the building and its size more
than there is," insists Galbraith. Mormons leave their chosen site
and scale down the center size.
"All their objections find us
guilty for something we might Then perhaps, Dann says, the
do in the future." Students from "ultra-religious," as they have
BYU have been traveling to Is- been dubbed, may give their ap-
provial to the Mormons' perma-
rael for the past 17 years with-
out a hint of objection from Is- nent presence in Israel.
Galbraith is cynical of the
raelis. Some 70 students travel
annually for a semester of "purity" argument, saying "the
real issue is not so much the
study, living in Ramat Rachel, a
Mormons, as an artificial politi-
nearby kibbutz. BYU decided to
build the center because of the cal issue. The ultra-religious
popularity of the extension pro-
gram in Israel.
Dann acknowledges the fears
generated by the size of the
Dann said the
project, and adds its location
sends shivers of resentment
welcome ends when
coursing through the ultra-
attempts are made
religious and even those who
claim to be stronger in their
to dilute the
Zionism than their religion. "No
Jewishness
of the
other non-Jewish organization
(in Israel) has centers" of a
state through
comparable size and on a loca-
tion of such prominence to the
missionary
Jewish people, he said.
activities.
Mount Scopus sits alongside
the Mount of Olives, but the
protesterS insist the center site
desecrates the Mount of Olives.
always need to have a cause."
Entwined in history, the Mount
Before the Mormons arrived on
of Olives has for centuries been
the scene, Galbraith said, the
the requested burial site of
wrath of the ultra-religious was
many Jews. Tradition says the
directed at a host of other is-
Messiah will bring about the re-
sues, such as secular univer-
surrection of the dead from this
sities or selected archeological
spot. For Christians, the Mount
sites. The Mormons, he main-
of Olives is the site of Jesus' as-
tained, are but another cause
cension into heaven.
which the ultra-religious will
Galbraith is at a loss to ex-
use to gain political and finan-
plain why the - location has be-
cial strength.
come an issue. Standing on
Galbraith suggested that' per-
Lutheran property, located be-
haps
"ultra-religious factions
hind the Mormon Center site,
within the Knesset might use
Galbraith, pointing to the east
the Mormon issue against the
where the Apostolic Delegate of
"present or next government"
Rome resides and to the west
seeking their support." Any co-
where secular Hebrew Univer-
alition requiring ultra-religious
sity sits, questions why in such
support might hinge on a reso-
a surrounding the Mormon cen-
lution on the Mormon issue, ie
ter is being singled out.
predicted.
Dann dismisses charges that
Although Israel's leading par-
the protest is an anti-Mormon
ties, Labor and Likud, are sensi-
campaign. "We object to a build-
tive to the ultra-religious, Gal-
ing in a particularly sensitive
braith said they are also "very
place — a holy place for Jews. It
sensitive to American public
is not an anti-Mormon cam-
opinion." If an American in-
paign." The controversy, he
stitution were not welcome in
says, cannot be linked to reli-
Israel, Galbraith said America
gious tolerance or lack of it.
might question the existence of
Exemplifying the strength of
freedom of religion.
the protesters' emotions, Dann
The effort to curb the Mormon
said, "You have to understand
presence in Israel could well
that a large number of people
bespeak a fate awaiting other
feel this is an issue they are
Christian organizations, warns
ready to sacrifice their lives
Galbraith. "To a certain extent
for." It is a principle to -which
we are fighting a battle for all
they cling. Judaism, whose only
Christians." The irony of that
home is Israel, will not be
statement is not lost on Gal-
threatened, watered down or
braith, who acknowledges the
tried by missionaries of any
claim by many Christian organ-
stripe, says Dann. And, he adds,
izations that Mormons are not
`Mormons are fundamentally
Christians but a sect.
missionaries."
At the Yad L'Achim office in
"Israel is a special place. It is
Jerusalem, an avowed opponent
the only place in the world for
of missionaries said the Mor-
Jews." Christians and Arabs, he
mons are not the only group
said, have their own land. Al-
causing concern. She said
though, welcome in Israel, Dann
"born-again Christians" are
said that welcome ends when at-
flooding into Israel, trying to
tempts are made to dilute the
convert Jews.
Jewishness of the state through
Almost daily, a handful of
missionary efforts.
"ultra-religious" pray at the site
Although the ultra-religious
of the Mormon center, perhaps,
are suspicious of the Mormons,
says center construction coor-
says Dann, it is possible the two
dinator Fred Schwendiman



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