Deputy Religions Minister, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home/Bayit Yehudi), criticized Reform Jews, whose representatives sat with him in a panel on the Jewish People at the conference of Jewish Agency trustees Thursday.
The Reform representatives attacked Israel's attitude toward the Reform Jews living in it, and called on Israel to learn from the American government and allow the same kind of freedom of religion.
"Here in Israel, there is no separation of religion and state," answered Ben-Dahan. "Rather, the religion is part of the state. Therefore, the attempts to compare Israel and the US on matters of religion are incorrect."
Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, he said, "was from the Labor party, not from a hareidi party," yet he "decided that he wants to bring about a situation in which all of the Jews coming to Israel can live together in the state, with the aid of the widest common denominator, and that is the Orthodox common denominator. Unless it remains that way, we will turn into two nations," he warned.
Rabbi Ben-Dahan criticized the Reform movement. "I want to stress," he said, "the only place in the world where the Jewish nation is growing and not shrinking is the state of Israel, unlike America, where the Jewish nation is shrinking. You wanted to be liberal, but you went too far."