ADL Condemns Consistent Demeaning of Reform Jews by Israel’s Religious Affairs Minister

New York, NY, July 7, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today strongly criticized another outburst of demeaning and hateful comments about Reform Jews made once again by Israel’s Religious Affairs Minister David Azoulay, and welcomed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s swift rejection of the remarks.

In an interview with Army Radio, Azoulay said that Reform Jews cannot be considered Jewish, stating: “The majority of them are people that erred, who should be considered as Jewish children captured and raised among non-Jews. We would like to take care of those Jews, so that they come back into the fold of Judaism according to Jewish Law.” Last month, Azoulay characterized Reform Jews as “a disaster for the Jewish people.”

“It is unconscionable that for a second time in less than a month, Minister Azoulay has publicly demeaned Reform Jews,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “His disturbing comments come at a time of widening divisions between the Rabbinate and non-Orthodox Israeli Jews, and growing tensions with the non-Orthodox Jewish diaspora. Instead of bridging those divides, Azoulay’s disturbing remarks contribute to an atmosphere of exclusion and growing mistrust.”

Mr. Foxman added, “One would hope that a minister charged with administering religious affairs would be a voice for respect and tolerance of the religious views and traditions of others.”

Azoulay’s comments come on the heels of a decision by the Israeli cabinet to reverse an initiative aimed at easing the Jewish conversion process, which, when initially introduced in November, had signaled a positive move towards inclusivity for all Jews in Israel.