Statement of Christians and Muslims, Religious Leaders and Clergy, Living and Working in Israel

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Christians and Muslims, Religious Leaders and Clergy

Israele       1975

We, Christians and Muslims, religious leaders and clergy living and working in Israel, feel obliged to record our strongest protest against the resolution adopted by the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations at its recent session in Geneva, on 21 February 1975, purporting to express concern for the alleged « desecration of Moslem and Christian shrines », « ill-treatment of religious leaders » and « violations of rights of worship » in the areas administered by Israel.

Even the most cursory examination of these charges will suffice to prove that they are all completely false, and motivated by purely political purposes.

As it happens, the inviolability of the Holy Places is guaranteed by Israel's Law on the Protection of Holy Places 5727 - 1967, which states in its first paragraph:

« The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places. »

Any of the thousands of pilgrims who visit these Holy Places every day of the year can testify to the scrupulous care with which these shrines are protected and to the obvious falsity of this charge.

As for charges regarding the treatment of religious leaders entrusted with the practice of Christian and Moslem religions in these Holy Places, we are ourselves fully qualified to deny them. The Government of Israel has at all times behaved with courtesy and consideration towards us, and any charge of disrespect or ill-treatment is patently ludicrous. No religious leader or official has ever been treated with anything but respect in his capacity of a religious leader and in the exercise of his religious functions.

The resolution of the Human Rights Commission calling on Israel to ensure freedom of worship and to accord protection to religious shrines and personalities, would imply that such freedom and protection do not exist at present. The truth of the matter, however, is that only since 1967 have all religions been free to worship at all the Holy Places in Jerusalem and this freedom is guaranteed by the above-mentioned law.

We therefore reject as false and completely unfounded these charges appearing in the Resolution passed by the Human Rights Commission, and call on all men of conscience to declare the truth of the freedom of religion and the protection of the Holy Places existing in Israel.

{Appended are three lists of signatures containing eighty-six names in all.)

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Inserito 01/01/1970