What some MKs are actually saying about Reform rabbis
In the excitement of Israel's first step toward recognition of non-Orthodox rabbis, these appointments were met with disturbing reactions by both ultra-Orthodox and National Religious political leaders.
Religious Services Minister, Yaakov Margi. 24.10.2007. Photo: Michal Patal, Flash 90
Members of the Israeli Knesset from both the ultra-Orthodox and National Religious camps blasted the decision of the Attorney General to recognize non-Orthodox rabbis as community leaders, funded by the State just as their Orthodox counterparts. It leaves one to wonder where moderate religious voices lie; surely not in the Knesset.
Minister for Religious Services Ya’akov Margi of Shas said “Whoever desires the preservation of Jewish identity of the People and the State of Israel has to fight these unnatural manifestations which have proven themselves as a disaster brought on the Jewish communities overseas and all the more so in Israel. Every year, the Jewish People loses hundreds of thousands through assimilation and this is what they want to happen here - a destruction of the Jewish communities."
MK Yisrael Eichler, head of United Torah Judaism, described the decision as “another proof that the legal system serve as soldiers in the Reform war against the Torah.” He went on to refer to the Reform movement as Christians priests who serve as partners to the heretical legal system, saying that "The governmental system to a great extent is bribed by the Reform abundant wealth.”
Chair of the Knesset finance Committee Moshe Gafni responded responded “After the legal system tried to harm the students of Torah, it now attempts to undermine the Jewish infrastructure of the State. All of a sudden, there is money for Reform and Conservative clowns for whom Judaism is is a mockery.”
MK Moshe Gafni: "All of a sudden, there is money for Reform and Conservative clowns for whom Judaism is is a mockery.”
Joining the typical slew of hate speech from ultra-Orthodox politicians were some from the Religious Zionist camp.
Religious Zionist Minister of Science, Rabbi Professor Hershkovitz, rejected the authority of the Attorney General and the courts to make decisions in this matter and stated that “Just as they [the Courts and Attorney General] are not authorized to decide who is eligible for an academic degree, so are they not capable of deciding who is eligible for the title rabbi.” Interesting, considering the government’s funding of thousands of Orthodox rabbis.
The chair of the Knesset State Comptroller’s committee, also from the Religious Zionist camp, MK Ariel, declared that the Attorney General’s office and the Supreme Court continue to lead an anti-Jewish policy while harshly damaging Jewish values.
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