The Conservatives are threatening

American Conservative leader outraged over interrogation of Haifa rabbi. "There will be a strong response."

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Wedding (illustration)
Wedding (illustration)

Rabbi Steven Wernick, Chief Executive Officer of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, on Thursday sent a harshly worded letter Thursday to Dani Dayan, Israel's consul general in New York, over the interrogation of Conservative rabbi Dov Haiyun for officiating at a wedding which was not legally allowed to take place.

“After my colleague in Haifa is pulled out of bed at 530am arrested and summoned back for officiating at a non-Orthodox wedding (threatened with 2 years in jail), and the passage of the Nation State Law, I do not believe we can talk about a ‘gap’ between Israel and the Diaspora. It is now a ‘canyon,’" wrote Wernick.

“These are the actions of Iran and Saudi Arabia. What's next, the police will enforce the Rabbinate's modesty rules? Kashrut rules? Shabbat rules? We already know their actions or lack thereof at the Kotel allowing for the abuse of my co-religionist when they join Women of the Wall to pray on Rosh Hodesh,” he added.

“The Prime Minister and his government are now at risk of permanently harming klal Yisrael, certainly with the next generation of North American Jews. If people as knowledgeable and committed like me are feeling disenfranchised, as if Israel's future may longer be tied to mine, all the more so those who are less knowledgeable and committed.”

“Israel is losing its soul and weakening its democracy and Jewish character. It's beacon of light on the nations is now dim. Even I am having difficulty seeing it.”

Wernick warned there would be a “strong response” to the incident after he consults with his colleagues.

“We are in a very challenging moment in Jewish history. That these events occur days before Tisha B’Av should not be lost on any of us,” he wrote.

The firestorm began after police after Haiyun, who heads a Conservative community in Haifa, was detained early Thursday morning for interrogation after he failed to appear when called for questioning.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit later ordered the Israel Police to stop Haiyun’s interrogation and will investigate whether his actions raise suspicion of a criminal offense.

The rabbinical courts said the police were ordered to interrogate Haiyun only after it became obvious that he officiated at a wedding which was not legally allowed to take place. He was questioned on suspicion of violating Section 7 of the Marriage and Divorce Registration Ordinance, as well as on suspicion of an offense under the Penal Law.

"This is a man who married those detained from marriage who were at the time mamzerim, something which is criminal and forbidden by law - something that every Jew who fears Heaven condemns. In addition, he evaded arranging registrations as demanded by law,” the rabbinical court's administration said.

Such a marriage, which is contrary to halakha (Jewish law) as well as Israeli civil law, is liable to bear children barred from a large part of the Jewish marriage pool and create a halakhic obstacle for much of the Jewish people. A wedding ceremony for those detained from marriage is not only forbidden under the Marriage and Divorce Registration Ordinance, but also under the Penal Law.

More Arutz Sheva videos: