Rabbi Chaim Amsalem
Rabbi Chaim AmsalemHezki Baruch

Former MK Rabbi Chaim Amsalem responded to the arrest of Conservative Rabbi Dov Hayoun, who was detained for questioning early Thursday morning following a complaint that he conducted weddings outside the framework of the Chief Rabbinate.

"If he married a mamzer, it is very serious, but I am not familiar with the details," Rabbi Amsalem told Arutz Sheva. "I am approached many times in order to marry couples, but if the couple were not registered in the rabbinate, I do not marry them because the law does not permit this."

"I have no faith in the system of the religious establishment, and I do not trust them anymore. It's difficult for me to accept everything that happens in the religious establishment," said Rabbi Amsalem. "Anyone who takes on independent ways to do them without breaking the law. After all, half of Tel Aviv is married not by the rabbinate, and many more are getting married in Cyprus. Is this better? I think the arrest of the Conservative rabbi will backfire against religion. The rabbinate is the establishment and the general public is fed up with the rabbinate and does not want to step through their doorway."

He claimed that the Chief Rabbinate today has become anti-Zionist, and as a result does not appeal to the Israeli public. "The Rabbinate is radicalizing. Who today requires the services of the rabbinate? As soon as the Chief Rabbinate is unable to solve the greatest problem that the Jewish people has, the problem of Jewish identity and assimilation, it has no right to exist. The Rabbinate is losing its legitimacy. So what's left? The situation is catastrophic."

So what should be done?

"I am aware that the political situation is catastrophic, because all the parties sold their consciences for the sake of power and gave the extremist haredi parties control over many areas, and that includes the Likud as well. For a long time, the Jewish Home was not interested in Jewish identity and assimilation and the large population that has distanced itself from religion. The reality is that the Likud is willing to give up everything for the sake of maintaining the coalition.

"I hope there will be an alternative, a government that does not sell its values ​​to extremists. Right now I do not see it. The moment the Likud gave up all the issues related to Jewish identity, and the Jewish Home is subject to extremists within itself, and all are under the authority of the extremist haredi parties, we came to the edge of the abyss."

I understand that you will not return to the Jewish Home party

"I joined in the past, and I once had hopes that maybe this is a place from which you can make changes, but it turns out that Bennett is not interested in these things. He dreams of replacing the prime minister, and he is willing to do anything to achieve that goal. So what do I have to look for there? The issues of national identity and assimilation, moderate Judaism are the important issues that are supposed to bind me and people who think like me."

Are you ready for the upcoming elections?

"I get calls every day not to sit on the fence and do something, I'm undecided, I will not deny that this is a big and burning challenge, and the situation is very painful for me. I can continue to deal with the important things that I am dealing with. And I wish that I would see in the arena a party or parties that I can say are doing the work I believe in. If only."