Reform movement in Israel
Reform movement in Israel Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Israel’s Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting (CCSB) levied a NIS 100,800 fine on Israel's Channel 20 in wake of its refusal to interview representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements. The CCSB says that the Jewish Heritage Channel must represent all streams of Judaism, and its unwillingness to do so is a violation of its license.

CCSB Chairman Dr. Ben Chai Segev wrote in the decision that "The Council's decisions explicitly state that the Council will strictly observe the channel's compliance with existing directives, including expression of a variety of opinions public."

"Exclusion of different groups from the channel's broadcasts violates the license, which obligates the channel to give expression to various streams in the public. Channel 20, as the Israeli heritage channel, should reflect all the voices and shades in Israeli society."

Channel 20 contends that the Reform and Conservative movements are do not reflect traditional Judaism, and they are thus not obligated to represent them.

Channel 20 has long been hostile towards the Reform and Conservative movements. In 2016, they responded to a letter sent by the CCSB warning that their policy towards non-Orthodox streams was inviting a fine by accusing Reform Judaism of splitting the Jewish people.

"We hereby state categorically that we don’t think Channel 20 should present attempts to divide and split the people of Israel,” Channel 20 wrote on Facebook. “There are fake Rolex watches and Adidas shoes all over the world. Let’s not counterfeit Judaism, let’s not divide the Wall."

"If one can’t divide Jerusalem, and one can’t, than surely the Western Wall plaza can’t be divided. That’s the beginning of the end. If our license is revoked, then let it be so. The integrity of the Jewish people and of the Wall plaza are much more important and larger than anything else, even us.”

Host Eral Segal, a major personality on the network, blasted Reform leader Rich Jacobs. "Thank you for coming to Israel, to the people who watch over your house so you can throw stones at it" he said.

It is estimated that there are over 10,000 synagogues in Israel, not counting small groups that meet in schools, individual homes and more. Of these, only about 25 belong to the Reform Movement, meaning that it represents less than a quarter of a percent of the synagogues in Israel.

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