Anger over Knesset attack on Reform movement

By Simon Rocker, February 14, 2014

Britain’s Reform movement has urged members to protest to Israel Ambassador Daniel Taub after attacks on Reform within the Knesset.

Likud-Beiteinu’s David Rotem, who chairs the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, apologised on Sunday after referring to Reform as “another religion” last week.

But Uri Maklev, an MK from the Charedi United Torah Judaism Party, said there had been no need for a retraction, claiming that Reform “put pressure on and bribe politicians”.

Reacting to Mr Maklev’s outburst, Gilad Kariv, director of Israel’s Reform movement, said that it was “a shame that such inciting words were said within the walls of the Knesset, and even worse, in the name of the Torah”.

In the UK, the Movement for Reform Judaism circulated a sample letter which members could send to the Israeli embassy, stating that “such inflammatory and slanderous statements have no place in political discourse” and should be challenged “at the highest level”.

The Reform movement worked hard for the welfare of Israel, fighting delegitimisation, the letter said. “It is all the more important then, that the state of Israel truly is a home for all the Jewish people and that its government and representatives condemn any attempts to create disharmony and distrust between Jews of different traditions.”

In his apology, Mr Rotem said that he had had “no intention of hurting anyone or the Reform movement”.

Last updated: 1:45pm, February 14 2014