PeretzHezki Baruch

Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz clarified his use of the word "holocaust" in the context of Diaspora assimilation at one of the last cabinet meetings.

Following the leak of his remarks and the protest they triggered in Israel and around the world, Jewish Agency Chairman Yitzchak Herzog asked Rabbi Peretz to clarify his remarks.

In an official letter to the Jewish Agency Chairman, which was addressed to the leadership of the Jewish communities around the world and especially the Jewish Federations in North America, Rabbi Peretz wrote: "Out of deep worry for the fate of the Jewish People, I used the word 'Holocaust', an expression that expresses the depth of pain and may not have been in place. Of course I did not mean to hurt any Diaspora Jews.

"In my remarks, I described how anxious I am for the future of the Jewish People, especially in light of the increasing phenomenon of assimilation among Diaspora Jews, something that keeps me up at night. As someone who has been a lifelong advocate of love of Jews, it is important for me to make it clear that I respect and cherish the entire Jewish People in Israel and the Diaspora. In this context, I would be happy to cooperate with you to deepen education to Jewish identity," Rabbi Peretz wrote in the letter.