It’s enough already. Prime Minister Netanyahu ought to do more than simply condemn the words of the Israeli Minister of the Interior, David Azoulay, who said recently that “there’s a problem” with Reform Jews: “As soon as a Reform Jew stops following the religion of Israel […] I can’t allow myself to say that such a person is a Jew.”
Mr. Azoulay (MK – Shas) is a minister in the government of the state of Israel. The state of Israel, as PM Netanyahu has said clearly is “home to all Jews.” Not only is Bibi right, but 59% of Israel’s Jews agree. They did not intend to elect a religious bigot into the government, and therefore any minister that deliberately does harm to the people of Israel ought not to serve and be dismissed from such service.
I appreciate both PM Netanyahu’s and President Rivlin’s efforts to affirm the best that is the democratic state of Israel, but neither (in my view) has done enough.
As I indicated in a former blog, Ruvi Rivlin is my 2nd cousin once-removed through his father’s side of the family, the late Yosef Rivlin. He has another cousin who is a Reform Rabbi as well, Rabbi Laura Novak Winer also on his father’s side of the family. But having two Reform Rabbis in the President’s family does not limit this issue to simply being a family affair.
This is a national peoplehood affair, and I would hope that what my cousin President Rivlin has done so wonderfully on behalf of democracy and equal rights for all Arab citizens of Israel, that he will do for the Jewish people as well. We deserve nothing less, and I know that he has the heart and mind to understand and do what is right.
I believe that PM Netanyahu does as well – and so, it is time for him to put the people of Israel first and ahead of the interests of Israel’s right wing ultra-Orthodox movements.
See the following two articles in Haaretz and the New York Times on this issue:
1. “Netanyahu rejects minister’s ‘hurtful’ claim Reform Jews can’t be called Jews: Prime Minister summons ultra-Orthodox religious affairs minister following remarks, says they do not reflect position of government and that ‘Israel is home to all Jews.’” By Haaretz | Jul. 7, 2015 | 6:33 PM – http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel/1.664876
2. Israeli Minister Says Reform Jews Are Not Really Jewish – By ISABEL KERSHNER JULY 7, 2015 – http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/08/world/middleeast/israeli-minister-says-reform-jews-are-not-really-jewish.html?_r=0