A law suit in Israel seeks to have the term "Reform" officially recognized as a defamatory insult.
In the libel suit brought by Adina Bar Shalom — a daughter of the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Ovadia Yosef – against Rabbi David Benizri, a prominent supporter of the Shas movement whom she said defamed her, the adjective “Reform” is listed among the slights.
The dispute began just after a woman was elected mayor of the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Shemesh, which has a significant haredi population.
Naming the late Yosef, Benizri wrote in a letter to followers: “I pity his Reform daughter, the accursed wicked woman, who came here and spoke in the name of the Rabbinate and for the so-called Women’s Council of Beit Shemesh. Bitter will be her day of judgment, bitter will be her day of reproach.”
Benizri, brother of a former Shas lawmaker, quickly realized he had crossed a line in what he wrote about Bar Shalom, whose father was a seminal leader of Shas, and apologized in an op-ed published in the Keren Or local news site.
“I had a complicated few days, including insomnia,” he wrote in a rare apology for a rabbi of his stature. “I never should have said what I did and I feel bad about it. So I want to convey here an apology and I hope she accepts it.”
But Bar Shalom said she has no intention of burying the hatchet, telling Ynet she is preparing a libel suit for $80,000 against Benizri. “I am not Reform and his intention was to defame me and my family. I will not let it go,” she said. “People like him harm the haredi public terribly and he should learn his lashing out has its price.”