Interior Minister: No recognition for Reform Movement

Aryeh Deri told a delegation of 100 Sephardic Rabbis that granting recognition to the Reform Movement would harm the Jewish people.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Delegation of Rabbis with the President
Delegation of Rabbis with the President
Yaakov Cohen

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri addressed a special conference of 100 Sephardic rabbis from around the world in the Knesset Tuesday.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also participated in the conference.

Deri criticized the Reform Movement during his speech. "I am asked, 'Why fight for Jewish causes? Why don't you make a compromise for the Western Wall...or on conversions?"

He said that granting recognition to progressive Jewish Movements that do not follow halacha (Jewish law) would only harm the Jewish people in the long run.

“If we want the Jewish people to be united then we need to strengthen it around something that has united it for years: the Torah of the Jewish people,” Deri said.

“Any recognition by the Knesset of communities with a different type of observance of Judaism will create questions that you will have to deal with, which come from recognizing something that is not the Torah of the Jewish people,” he added.

He said that he was against religious coercion, however. "Those who know me know that I am against laws of religious coercion. It achieves the opposite result. If we had a law mandating circumcision then fewer Jews would fulfill that commandment."

While Deri maintained his opposition to laws forcing people to follow the Torah, he reiterated his opposition to granting recognition to the Reform Movement. "They cause assimilation and destruction [of the Jewish people]."

Deri told the rabbis present that they were “on the front lines of assimilation.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the attendees that one of his greatest regrets was never bringing his son to receive a blessing from Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef. "You continue on your path." he told the rabbis. "You are holding the fort for the people of Israel."