New York, NY, November 11, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today deplored statements by Knesset Members from the United Torah Judaism party who, in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s commitment to invest in Israel’s Reform and Conservative communities, responded by comparing these movements to terrorists and accused them of “tearing the Jewish people apart.”
“We deplore the continued slander and vitriol heaped on Reform and Conservative Judaism by members of Knesset and other Orthodox individuals and institutions as contrary to the principles upon which the State of Israel was founded,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “It only serves to deepen the fissures within Israel society and alienate committed Reform and Conservative Zionists around the word.”
Mr. Greenblatt added, “Even worse, these statements can be incitements to violence against Reform and Conservative Jews and their institutions, of which there are far too many examples. We cannot tolerate this baseless hatred and we call upon Prime Minister Netanyahu unambiguously to reject the intolerant views expressed by members of his own coalition. We should be investing our energy in building Jewish unity, not destroying it.”
Ya’acov Litzman, who serves as Health Minister said, “Through the generations we have known that the Reform and Conservative are tearing the Jewish people apart and it is forbidden to lend them a hand to tear of the Torah of the Jewish people.” MK Moshe Gafni said, “The Reform [Movement] is sticking a knife into the Torah of the Jewish people.” This statement implicitly compared Reform Jews with the terrorists who have attacked and killed Jews on the streets of Israel in the last few weeks, among them a Reform Jew.
Yisrael Eichler accused American Jewish leaders of raising money for Israel and then funneling it to anti-Israel groups, a gross slander, and threatened to bring the government down over this issue.
ADL said that not only is this rhetoric hateful and dangerous in its own right, it distracts the entire government of Israel from the pressing issues at hand.