A writer for the left-wing Haaretz daily drew criticism Monday after she compared the haredi community in Israel to neo-Nazi groups in the United States.
Allison Kaplan Sommer, a former Jerusalem Post writer, wrote on Twitter Monday that haredim in Israel treated Reform Jews in a way comparable to neo-Nazis’ treatment of Jews outside of Israel.
Sommer’s inflammatory comment was made in response to a call by Israeli journalist Tal Schneider to American Jews to immigrate to Israel following the deadly ramming attack by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.
“[W]atching the horrifying torches& swastikas in #charlottsville I want to say to my fellow Jews brothers & sisters: come to Israel, just come,” wrote Schneider.
“You are all welcome here: reform, conservative, orthodox. We would love to embrace you all (I know it's difficult).”
Shortly thereafter, Sommer responded to Schneider’s post, arguing that because of the presence of haredim in Israel, whom she compared to Nazis, the Jewish state was not a viable refuge for American Jews.
“Sorry, Tal, but the haredim are as as [sic] hateful to Reform Jews as the neo-Nazis are to Jews, and secular Israelis stand by silently.”
To the surprise of some of her followers, Schneider concurred with Sommer’s comment.
“True,” wrote Schneider. “But society (our) may work hard and change for the better.”
When one of her Twitter followers challenged her agreement with Sommer’s comparison, Schneider defended it by claiming she had heard from “Orthodox people”, including in a Whatsapp group she follows, claiming members of the Reform movement are not Jewish.
“I hear Orthodox people saying ‘let’s go out and affirm that Reform [movement members] are not Jews’.”
Schneider later disavowed her previous endorsement of Sommer’s statement, writing: “Okay. I reject the statement that haredim treat Reform Jews the way the neo-Nazis treat [Jews]. But I see the Reform Jews as brothers, and I hope that they come here, even though I am a committed secularist.”