'Social justice' rally
'Social justice' rallyIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The religious community should be leading the social justice campaign and stood by too quietly in protests, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel of the metropolitan Tel Aviv city of Ramat Gan told a conference of rabbis Monday.

He said religious Jews abandoned the “red flag” in last summer’s social justice protests that turned parts of Tel Aviv into a “tent city.”

Approximately 100 rabbis from throughout the country met at the first conference of its kind, dubbed “Social Justice and the Jewish State.”

Rabbi Yaakov said he and others from the Ramat Gan Yeshiva erected a protest tent but abstained from protests Saturday nights, which would have conflicted with the Sabbath because of the late hour before the Day of Rest ends in the summer.

He told colleagues that the “flag of social justice is the flag of religious Jews.”

Social justice activist Jackie Edry criticized rabbis for remaining too quiet during the campaign.

Rabbi Eliyahu Abrajil, who sits on the religious court in Jerusalem, criticized the government tax structure and said too much money is wasted on grandiose projects and not enough is spent on social services for individuals and public housing.