MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) voiced extreme displeasure Sunday with the apology offered by MK David Rotem (Likud-Beytenu), after Rotem said that the Reform sect wasn't really "Jewish", but a "different religion.”
"Never before has a Knesset member been forced to apologize for things that he said inside a committee, for what he thinks,” he accused. “These are thought and speech police... This runs counter to democracy and to the Knesset members' immunity from prosecution.”
"The Reform movement persecutes the Jewish people and attempts to crushes it from within, after failing to do this from outside,” said MK Maklev. “They are the biggest enemy of the Jewish people and they cause assimilation. [The Reform movement's] tentacles are everywhere. They bribe politicians and the press. They have created an unprecedented pressure group.”
Rotem opened the Law Committee's session Sunday by stating: “...I expressed (sentiments) regarding Reform Judaism in a way that was wrong and mistaken, and as a result hurt many people.
"My intention was not to hurt any individual, or the Reform movement," he continued. "There were those who slanted my words in a direction which implied a lack of recognition of the Jewishness of Reform Jews – but this was not so."
"Reform Jews – indeed, anyone who is born from a Jewish mother – are considered a Jew for all intents and purpose.
"The intent of my words was (to express that) there is a difference of opinion between myself and the Reformers regarding the practical application of (the principles of) Judaism," he clarified.