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Church of Scotland Backs Away Denial of Jewish Claim to Land of Israel

The Church of Scotland will reword a controversial report which said “scripture” provides no basis for Jewish claims to Israel, the church said in statement.

The 10-page report, entitled “The Inheritance of Abraham” and published online earlier this month has been taken down from the Church of Scotland’s website until it is rewritten.

A message posted on the church’s website said that following talks on Thursday with Jewish leaders, the church has agreed to change the report by adding “a new introduction to set the context for the report and give clarity about some of the language used.”

The statement, cosigned by Board of Deputies of British Jews and three other Jewish groups, also said the church “needs to be explicit “ about its recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

The report had been submitted by the church’s Church and Society Council ahead of a general assembly later this month.

In addition to suggesting the church boycott Israel, the original document rejected “claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory.”

Such claims raise “an increasing number of difficulties and current Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians have sharpened this questioning,” the document said.

It further suggested some Jews believe they have a right to the land of Israel “as compensation for the suffering of the Holocaust”.

The report sparked furious reactions from the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, the Anti-Defamation League and the Israeli embassy to Britain.

“This report not only plays into extremist political positions, but negates and belittles the deeply held Jewish attachment to the land of Israel in a way which is truly hurtful,” ambassador Daniel Taub said.

Israel’s Army Radio quoted him as accusing the church of anti-Semitism.

The report will be debated and then voted on by 723 general assembly commissioners, or delegates from across Scotland, on May 18.

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