Gafni Calls Reform Jews ‘Clowns,’ Ejects their Representative


moshe-gafniThe Knesset’s Finance Committee discussed the recent instruction by the Attorney General and Legal Advisor to the Government, that Reform and Conservative Jewish rabbis are eligible for state funding.

The session was a stormy one. In the course of the debate, committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) called Reform Jews “clowns” and ejected Reform Movement Director Gilad Kariv from the room after Kariv spoke without permission.

Representatives from the State Attorney’s Office said that funding for the Reform and Conservative rabbis would be transferred soon. The funding will come out of the coffers of the Ministry for Religious Services but pass through the Ministry of Education – presumably to save Minister Yaakov Mergi of Shas from having to give funds directly to the movements.

Mergi and Gafni both expressed their anger over the fact that the appointment of regional rabbis has been held up for seven years as legal experts thoroughly studied the problem.

MK Gafni came out swinging against “the decision to give government funding to those who are not defined by law as rabbis [and] who were not authorized as rabbis by the Chief Rabbinate.”

“Who gave the Legal Advisor to the Government the authority to decide to budget matters that were still undecided? The Legal Advisor’s decision is contrary to the Knesset’s position that recognizes the Chief Rabbinate as the only body authorized to deal with rabbinical matters.”

Mergi accused the judges who decided in favor of a motion by the Reform Movement of improper behavior. “The judges who decided the motion should have recused themselves due to lack of good faith and conflict of interest,” he said. “One of them received an honorary plaque from the Reforms, a second said to the protocol that he had represented Reform Jews for money in the past, and another judge announced that he is friendly with one of the appellants and studied alongside him in the past.

Read more: Arutz Sheva

{Arutz Sheva/ Newscenter}


  1. What do you expect?
    For some people it is still unclear whether their main agenda is ????? ??? or establishment of a state. But from the new ?????? of this week alone, it should be quite clear.

  2. With both reform and conservative movements on the shrink, why would the government allow this? These are movements that were started for reasons that are not Torahdiche. They are invalid.

  3. Once again, the world of Torah Jewry has roared a lion’s roar. Once again the world of Torah Jewry continues to push more Jewys away from Yahadus. When you wage a war with your brother, you only push him further away. In a public forum, such as this you make yourself look arrogant, stupid and insensitive. Is this the image that Torah Jewry wants to portray?

    I’ve missed you & your enlightening comments.
    In America nobody pushed the reform & conservative ????????? any place for many, many years, where are they now?
    Intermarried etc. they’ve lost so many members that ???? ?????? are registered by them as “jews” to help increase membership.
    ??? ?????? ?’ ???? ???!

  5. Dear ORTHODOX,

    If you have missed me, I feel sorry for you.
    Mr. Orthodox, How many reform and conservative Jews did you invite into your home for a Shabbos meal? How many reform and conservative Jews did you invite to learn Torah together with? How many Reform and Conservative Jews did you help with Tzedaka just because the were Jews in need? Please don’t tell me how in America nobody pushed them. You left them all to rot so that YOU could gloat about your putrid “TZIDKUS”!!!!!

  6. Mr. Orthodox,
    So sorry to hear that you missed me. You are correct, nobody pushed the reform and conservative Jews. Did you at any point invite a reform and conservative Jew to your home for a Shabbat meal? Did you ever invite a reform and conservative Jew to learn Torah? Did you ever even bother to listen to their complaints? (Do you think that they are just stupid and wicked people who have no moral claim or question?)
    Did you ever give tzedaka to a reform and conservative Jew who was in need?
    Yes you did not push them. You just let them rot so that you could claim your superiority and righteous indignation!!!! And you consider yourself a religious Torah Jew!!!. How morally putrid you and your ilk are!!!

  7. The only apikorus in the reform and conservative movements are their rabbis and the lone wolfs who try to shun the orthodox. The people in these movements are either deluded or poorly educated and in some cases, that is Israels fault.

  8. Re Beethoven’s thread: I would have said, “The only apikorsus…if that much.” I’d say a lot of the leadership isn’t too learned either. They really don’t know what they don’t know.

  9. SHELDON, don’t get excited, it’s not good for your heart.
    Hope to hear from you more exciting & smart comments.
    By the way, when I see somebody hungry and INVITE them to my house I don’t inquire as to their degree of orthodoxy, so I realy don’t know if ever invited a reformed or conservative to my house.

    How about coming to for this Shabbos so you’ll be the positive first one.
    If you take on my invitation post your email address so we can work out all details.

  10. Thank you so much for the invitation and your approbation. I do have company for this shabbat however. I will still give you my email as I would love to hear from you and maybe take a rain check. My email is

    BTW. the point is that conservative, reformed, reconstructionist and unafiliated Jews are still our brothers. Rather than declaring war, we need to engage, listen, educate, help and love them. These people are not stupid. If you listen to them, you actualy may find that they have much to offer to us. They may also show us our own flaws and issues which we need not ignore but deal with.

  11. Dear Beethoven,
    You speak with so much authority that you even know who is to blame. I think that you know so little about the issues that I can only recommend to you either you need to become learned of the issues or practice the dictum of Siyag LeChochma Shtika.

  12. Dear Tzippy,

    What you say is very true. The day of the great Lamdonim in the conservative movement is long over. There were great Torah Giants and leaders in JTS in it’s heyday. That being said; don’t under estimate people’s scholarship!!!. Don’t under estimate their perspectives. If you listen closely you will see where we fail to reach others. If you listen closely you will see where our opportunities are for outreach.
    If you listen closely you will even see our own failures.