The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America has clarified circumstances surrounding the distribution to Israeli soldiers of a booklet that claimed the Pope and Vatican support the anti-Semitic goals of Hezbollah. The Orthodox Union rescinded the endorsement of the booklet and rejected any connection to it.
On July 19, the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported on the booklet, “On Either Side of the Border,” which had been distributed to members of the Israel Defense Forces. According to the report, one of the book’s publishers was the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.
In a statement provided to CNA, the Orthodox Union explained on Tuesday that “this endorsement was made by staff at the OU’s Israel branch office, and was never submitted to, nor approved by, senior Orthodox Union management.”
The Orthodox Union went on to say that it “rescinds the endorsement of the book and disavows any connection to the views expressed in it.” It also stated that an internal review of the incident has been ordered to help “ensure that such a situation is not repeated.”
“While the Haaretz report certainly sensationalized the book’s contents, there is no doubt that some of what it contains is antithetical to the well-known views of the OU regarding respect for other faiths and their leaders.”
“The Orthodox Union expresses its sincere regret to those of other faiths who may have been embarrassed or offended by the publication of this work,” the statement concluded.