'Reform failed in America'

Former MK says Reform Movement wants Israeli Jews to assimilate, slams Reform for trying to dictate Israel's policies.

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Benny Tucker,

Nissim Zeev
Nissim Zeev
Flash 90

Former MK Nissim Zeev spoke about the cancellation of the Western Wall (Kotel) deal and attacked the US Reform Movement for trying to dictate the Israeli government's policies.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Zeev said the Western Wall deal was canceled "thanks to Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau, who raised a ruckus and then suddenly everyone woke up and understood what a dangerous thing it was. Unfortunately, for a year and a half, the haredi MKs and ministers fell asleep while on guard duty, and allowed it to pass. It's good that the government stopped the deal."

He also said that the Western Wall deal would have harmed the site's holiness and granted authority to Reform Judaism.

"They want the law to say that the custom at the Kotel is egalitarian, mixed, prayer. Even worse, they want the Western Wall plaza to be run by a public council led by the Jewish Agency head, and incluidng in it Conservatives, Reform, and Israel Antiquities Authority officials. They want these people to replace the Chief Rabbinate.

"They want to change the place's holiness and harm the pure atmosphere. They want to turn the Kotel into a place of fighting and disagreements. Thousands of Jews pray at the Kotel every day, and it's the only remaining part of our Holy Temple. For fifty years, people have been respecting the Kotel - Jews, Christians, and Muslims. No one prevented Reform Jews from praying at the Kotel. But they don't really want to pray, they want to harm the site's holiness and turn the Rabbinate into a laughingstock.

"I am happy that the government fixed its mistake, because this is a small, marginalized group which just wants to ruin the atmosphere, rebel, and make others rebel."

Zeev also said Reform had failed in the US and was coming to Israel to try their luck.

"They have 78% assimilation, and today they're trying to duplicate their failure and destruction in Israel, too. Their children marry non-Jews and converted to Christianity. They are worlds away from Judaism. This is a record low, and they are not allowed, as non-citizens, to tell us what Israel's Judaism should be like."

The Western Wall deal would have moved the entrance to the egalitarian prayer section closer to the other sections' entrances and transferred authority to the Jewish Agency. However, one part of the deal - expanding the existing egalitarian section - will still be kept.

On Tuesday, Efrat's Rabbi Shlomo Riskin told Arutz Sheva that he hopes the Chief Rabbinate will hear his message: To respect Reform, not demean them. According to Rabbi Riskin, Reform Jews are working to fight assimilation just like Orthodox Jews are, and Israeli Jewry, and only through love will the two groups come closer.