Progressive Jews 'deny more than Holocaust deniers', says Jerusalem Chief Rabbi

Jerusalem Chief Rabbi is notorious for attacks on non-Orthodox Jews


Shlomo Amar, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, is facing widespread condemnation after suggesting that Reform Jews “deny more than Holocaust deniers”. 

The former chief rabbi of Israel hit out at progressive Jews after the Israeli High Court announced that it was suspending a plan to create a mixed prayer section at the Western Wall.

In comments reported by the Kikar HaShabbat Charedi news website, Rabbi Amar said: “Today there was a hearing on the Kotel on the petition of the cursed evil people who do every iniquity in the world against the Torah – they even marry Jews and non-Jews.

“They don’t have Yom Kippur or Shabbat, but they want to pray [at the Western Wall]. But no one should think that they want to pray. They want to desecrate the holy. They are trying to deceive and say that extremist charedim invented [prayer arrangements at the Western Wall]. 

“It’s like Holocaust deniers, it’s the same thing. They shout, ‘Why are there Holocaust deniers in Iran?’ They deny more than Holocaust deniers. In all of the Mishna and Gemara [of the Talmud], there was a women’s section and a section for men in the Temple. Did we invent this?”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Amar’s remarks. 

“All Jews are part of one family, and the diversity of our people should always be respected,” Netanyahu said. “I categorically reject any attempt to delegitimise any part of the Jewish people.”

In the UK, Marie van der Zyl, vice-president of the Board of Deputies, described the comments as "horribly offensive". 

She said: "If a non-Jew had said this sort of thing, we would rightly call it antisemitism. Amar would do well to remember that our Sages tell us that the reason the Temple was destroyed was Sinat Chinam - baseless hatred - between Jews. Perhaps if we used less bigoted language about each other, we Jews would have a whole Temple to pray in, not just a Wall."

Rabbi Amar is notorious for his attacks on non-Orthodox Jews and is also involved in a public feud with Shas Party leader Arye Deri

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