Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) responded this afternoon in the Knesset plenum to a question from MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid).
Stern asked why the government is not working to reach an agreement with those in the Reform movement who might be ready to reach some sort of agreement, for example on arrangements for the Western Wall. Deri responded that he has given up on the Reform movement.
“Reform Jews are our brothers,” said Deri, “but they do a great deal of harm to Judaism.” Deri said that he was in Carmiel on Shabbat, and his hosts showed him a building constructed per the dictate of the Supreme court as a Reform temple. They told him that, “On Yom Kippur they brought in trampolines for the kids and stalls distributing drinks and sweets. They showed me another building in the city that’s also a Reform temple.”
“Between the two of them, there are perhaps ten people [who come to pray]. One place of worship is Sefardi and the other is Ashkenazi. In one, they have a guitar, and in the other an organ. So I ask you, ‘Is this the Judaism you want us to come closer to?’ If this is Judaism, I give up on it. This is not a real synagogue, but something different. The Judaism that I know goes according the Shulchan Aruch and keeps halakha.”
The Interior Minister wondered what the Reform Jews are looking for at the Western Wall and why they so stubbornly insist on equality at this holy place. “I pray for the re-building of the Temple, the re-institution of the sacrifices, and the ‘Chamber of Hewn Stone’ (home to the Sanhedrin). They don’t believe in this, so what are they doing there? They only want to provoke and divide the nation. They are deliberately trying to destroy what’s authentic in all areas of Judaism.”