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    Russian Jews hail decision to end investigation

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    MOSCOW, July 5 (RIA Novosti) - The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FEOR) has welcomed a decision made by the Prosecutor General's Office to stop an investigation into the Kitzur Shulkhan Arukh, also known as the Code of Jewish Law.

    Federation Board Chairman Alexander Brod told a Tuesday press conference in Moscow that he hoped the end to the investigation meant that prosecutors had realized the document was not for them to study.

    In addition, a spokesman for the organization, Borukh Gorin, said: "It seems threatening to us that society is ready to do such an absurd thing: discuss the relevance of studying the Kitzur Shulkhan Arukh, which was compiled in the 16th century."

    According to Gorin, theological work dating back to the times of the inquisition cannot be considered within the realms of human rights formulated at the turn of the 20th-21st centuries.

    The spokesman said the Prosecutor General's Office should discuss crimes, and calls to interethnic and inter-religious discord. He said an ideological vacuum was detrimental to Russian society. "There is no national idea built on a civilized foundation. This is a question for society rather than the authorities," he said.

    Gorin said the law enforcement and judicial practices were inept in this regard. Gorin said chauvinistic newspapers should be "stripped of their licenses."

    In late January, 20 members of the Communist Party and the Homeland factions in the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, and another 500 people signed a letter to the Prosecutor General's Office, in which they demanded a ban on all Russia's "religious and national Jewish associations as extremist ones." Many human rights organizations condemned the letter, and both houses of parliament denounced anti-Semitism.

    Another letter emerged in March. It called on the prosecutor to reduce punishments handed down to "Russian patriots" for inciting national hatred against Jews. This time, the "patriots" specified their claims, demanding that all religious and national associations based on the principles of the Shulkhan Arukh be banned for being extremist.

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