Reform movement launches campaign against Israel

Reform, Conservative movements launch campaign after bids to gain recognition in Israel fail. Foreign Ministry calls to 'pacify' tension.

Gary Willig ,

Reform Jews praying in Jerusalem (illustrative)
Reform Jews praying in Jerusalem (illustrative)
Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90

Reform and Conservative congregations in the US have launched a campaign of protest against the government of Israel.

The Reform and Conservative movements cited as reason for the effort the ritual bath (mikvaot) bill banning use of public facilities for conversions not performed by recognized authorities -which passed its second and third readings in the Knesset - the government's decision not to implement an agreement establishing a Reform prayer section at the Western Wall, and the issue of conversion. In each of these cases, the non-Orthodox movements were denied official state recognition.

According to a report in Haaretz on Sunday, the protest campaign is being led by the JFNA, the Jewish Federations of North America, the largest Jewish organization on the North American continent. The campaign is to include sermons on the subject during the High Holidays.

The Foreign Ministry instructed its embassy staff in the US to prepare for a protest campaign. Diplomats were also instructed to have an increased presence in liberal American synagogues during this campaign.

"We assume that for most of you such visits are commonplace, but due to the sensitivity of the situation more attention and preparation is required." said Akiva Tor, the director of the Department for Jewish Communities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He also asked the diplomats to stress the fact that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the entire government are committed to finding a solution to the issue of prayer arrangements at the Western Wall in accordance with the government decision on the matter but "Given the political difficulties created the subject requires more time. "